USA TODAY College– April 24, 2017
The Young America’s Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans just filed suit against UC Berkeley, seeking damages for constitutional rights violations after the university sought to cancel a speech by conservative firebrand Ann Coulter planned by students.
Coulter was scheduled to speak at UC Berkeley this Thursday, but the university cancelled the event over safety concerns. Even though the university reversed course and said Coulter could speak on campus a different day, the groups hosting Coulter are taking it to court.
The UC Berkeley Police Department said they have received notice that groups that previously protested and fomented violence in Berkeley have planned to agitate again at Coulter’s speaking event.
UCPD wrote a letter to the attorney representing the Berkeley College Republicans and YAF, which supports the Coulter event, that said the university cannot protect Coulter and student supporters from anticipated violence as no campus venues could accommodate the security threats.
YAF wrote on their website that the university had plenty of notice of Coulter’s speaking date, but “instead of moving forward with event logistics for Coulter’s lecture, Berkeley’s administration chose to play a shell game with conservative students, only to ultimately cancel the event.”
YAF said UC Berkeley was unwilling to work with conservatives and protect the right of free speech. “Berkeley, we’ll see you in court,” YAF wrote.
Coulter told The Hollywood Reporter she still plans to speak on Thursday at UC Berkeley.
The College Republicans content that the university “hates free speech.”
In February, the university cancelled a Milo Yiannopoulos event over safety concerns. Still, fires and fights broke out during the demonstrations against the right-wing conservative.
President Donald Trump even threatened to take away federal funding from Berkeley.
On Friday in a Facebook post, Yiannopoulos said he will be hosting a multi-day event, “Milo’s Free Speech Week,” in response to controversies over conservative speakers being protested and cancelled on college campuses, particularly at Berkeley.
He said the week will include events on campus at Berkeley and if the university does not help with planning and executing the events, “Milo Week” will be extended to an entire month.
“I intend to return Berkeley to its rightful place as the home of free speech — whether university administrators and violent far-left antifa thugs like it or not,” Yiannopoulos wrote.
USA TODAY College reached out to the Berkeley College Republicans and YAF for comment on the Berkeley lawsuit.