UC Berkeley has apparently decided once and for all that it will not provide a forum for free speech on its campus. Citing security concerns, the university announced this week that they were disinviting scheduled speaker Ann Coulter. According to school officials, they don’t have the resources to protect students – and the conservative herself – from left-wing rioters.
Like several conservatives before her, Coulter has promised to live up to her obligations, regardless of the university’s security situation. She said Wednesday that she was going to speak, even if she had to deliver her speech at an off-campus location.
A campus spokesman said that if Coulter shows up next Thursday, the school will do “what is necessary to provide safety and security for the campus community,” but he did not elaborate on what measures that might entail.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, conservative UC Berkeley groups were told Wednesday that Coulter’s appearance would have to be postponed until at least September:
The standoff began Wednesday after vice chancellors Scott Biddy and Stephen Sutton emailed the student groups co-hosting the event — the Berkeley College Republicans and BridgeUSA, which gets students with political differences to listen to each other — to say the event was off until September at the earliest.
“We have been unable to find a safe and suitable venue for your planned April 27 event featuring Ann Coulter,” the administrators wrote. “In the wake of events surrounding the planned appearance by (right-wing speaker) Milo Yiannopoulos in February, as well as several riots which have occurred in recent weeks in the city of Berkeley, we have increased our scrutiny regarding the time and location of high-profile speakers so that these events can go forward unimpeded.”
Young America’s Foundation, the group which is footing most of Coulter’s speaking fee, said the event will go on regardless of what Berkeley administrators think about it. In a conversation with the Chronicle, Spencer Brown, a spokesman for the organization, said he wasn’t buying the security excuse.
“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,” Brown said.
Even if the school’s security concerns are valid – and the riots that followed a Milo Yiannopoulos speaking gig would indicate that they are – it doesn’t explain UC Berkeley’s decision here. Surely, the goal should be to arrest and prosecute left-wing Antifa rioters rather than give in to their demands, right? Isn’t this the very definition of “letting the terrorists win”?
Of course, when your school’s political philosophy lines up almost perfectly with “the terrorists,” you’re not letting them win so much as you’re rooting from the bleachers.