The University of California, Berkeley – that great bastion of free speech – decided to allow conservative firebrand commentator Ann Coulter to speak at their campus, but only on May 2, during ‘dead week,’ when there are few classes, and students would be preparing for the following week’s final exams. That would be the absolute worst time to schedule an event.
Of course, that was the whole point in rescheduling it then. University officials responsible for helping to organize the event said they didn’t want riots and violence. Scheduling the event during a week when everyone’s presumably popping caffeine pills and cramming for their exams would all but ensure no one would bother showing up. That way, Berkeley could claim they support free speech – made evident by ‘allowing’ Ann Coulter to come speak at their campus – and there was no rioting, violence, looting, and blowing things up in the name of tolerance.
But Ann Coulter’s not agreeing to their terms. She’s not coming on May 2 during dead week. She’s showing up on the originally agreed upon date, April 27. If officials aren’t happy, they can have her arrested. Here’s the Hollywood Reporter:
Administrators at UC Berkeley may have reversed their decision to allow Ann Coulter to speak on campus, but the groups that invited the Conservative, best-selling author made it clear through their attorney late Thursday that a new date and place will not suffice.
Coulter had been booked for April 27, but Berkeley administrators abruptly canceled her engagement on Wednesday, citing security concerns. After massive publicity, they reversed course but reset the event for May 2, when students will be taking finals and therefore will be less likely to attend, according to lawyers representing the Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation.
Associate vice chancellor Nils Gilman “grudgingly offered to allow the event from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2 — during ‘dead-week,’ when students are not even in class,” wrote Harmeet Dhillon of Dhillon Law Group in a letter to Berkeley interim vice chancellor of student affairs Stephen Sutton.
Berkeley administrators originally said the university canceled on Coulter due to the possibility of riots, citing the rioting that caused them to cancel a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos a few months earlier. But Dhillon noted that the university has a habit of shutting out Conservative speakers, including David Horowitz earlier this month.
“Berkeley impermissibly has allowed a ‘heckler’s veto’ to suppress the free-speech rights of speakers properly invited by recognized student groups,” wrote Dhillon. “It is ironic that UC Berkeley, known to many Americans as the birthplace of the free-speech movement, is now leading the vanguard to silence Conservative speech on campus.”
Coulter, meanwhile, has vowed to speak on April 27 as originally planned, whether administrators revoke her invitation or not.
“They can’t stop me. I’m an American. I have constitutional rights,” Coulter told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.
And on Thursday, after administrators reversed their decision but changed the date and venue, Coulter tweeted: “GOOD NEWS FOR CA TAXPAYER! You won’t be requird to pay $$$$ to compensate me & my crew for rebooked airfare & hotels. I’m speaking on 4/27.”
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