Ann Coulter, conservative figure and author of books including In Trump We Trust; and Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 — Especially a Republican, intends to speak at University of California Berkeley despite the school administration’s concern and cancellation. This is not the first time the campus garnered attention with a political issue, in February, Milo Yiannopoulos’ speaking event was canceled because of protests and outrage, which was violently expressed by some protestors. Donald Trump took to Twitter where he shared his thoughts on free speech and UC Berkeley.
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 2 februari 2017
Coulter’s immigration speech originally planned for April 27 was canceled due to concerns by school officials and the university police department’s safety assessment. In an email by Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy and Vice Chancellor to Student Affairs Stephen Sutton, the organizers were told that “given currently active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully.”
I acceded to Berkeley’s every silly demand (never made of lib speakers). Called their bluff & they canceled anyway. https://t.co/EQsiAEWPpW
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) 19 april 2017
UC Berkeley is a renown progressive university, but that does not impede its conservative students and organizations like the Berkeley College Republicans and BridgeUSA. Naweed Tahmas of the Berkeley College Republicans says “No matter what, she’s coming to Berkeley — despite UC Berkeley’s attempts to silence and suppress her right to come to campus, we are preparing with attorneys on how to proceed.” The Young America’s Foundation, well known for sponsoring conservative talks on college campuses, accused UC Berkeley of bias in saying “This is as clear-cut a case as it gets that public universities are using taxpayer dollars to shut down conservative speech, while allowing liberal speech only.” In regards to moving Coulter’s speech, campus spaces are free, but administrators claim they are all filled up. Although holding an event outside of Berkeley would cost money, organizers still have a week to look for venue alternatives.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Coulter says “Yes, it was officially banned… But they can’t stop me. I’m an American. I have constitutional rights.” The interview ends with Coulter stating that she is “giving a speech” and that the “speech will go on.” She has taken to Twitter where she announced that she plans to go to Berkeley on the 27th.
I am! At Berkeley next Thursday. https://t.co/SaOCFNRC7i
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) 20 april 2017
UC Berkeley denied the accusations of free speech infringement and responded that they want no potential violence from Coulter’s speech. The university strongly believes the safety of its students is non-negotiable and administrators are determined to host an event later in the year for her.