Update, 3:45 p.m., Thursday:
UC Berkeley officials said Thursday they have a “grave concern” of violence on campus if Ann Coulter follows through on her threat to speak next week at the university.
Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks instead proposed an alternate May 2 date for the conservative author.
Dirks said police have “very specific intelligence regarding threats that could pose a grave danger to the speaker,” her audience and protesters and urged Coulter to come speak at the later date instead.
Dirks said Thursday that Coulter’s vow to speak anyway led him to launch an expanded search for an “appropriate, protectable venue.”
Not quite! Berkeley just imposed an all-new arbitrary &harassing condition on my exercise of a constitutional right. https://t.co/c5bcdhl4dB
Original Post: Despite the decision of UC Berkeley officials to cancel conservative commentator Ann Coulter’s planned speech for April 27, Coulter and organizers are promising she will still find a way to speak at the campus.
Early Wednesday, UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton emailed a message to organizers that “given currently active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully.”
The administrators write that they “have been unable to find a safe and suitable venue” based on the university police department’s safety assessment.
They note in particular the riots that engulfed the campus back in February when campus Republicans invited the right-wing, self-described provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos to speak. University officials canceled that speech and blamed “masked agitators” for smashing windows and starting fires.
But Coulter tweeted that she still intends to speak at “Berkeley next Thursday.”
I am! At Berkeley next Thursday. https://t.co/SaOCFNRC7i
“She’s definitely coming to Berkeley on the 27th,” Pranav Jandhyala, one of the event’s organizers, tells NPR. “We’re looking into alternative venues.”
He says he was “extremely disappointed” by the university’s decision. He adds that students have half-joked that Coulter may end up speaking on the steps at the university’s Sproul Plaza.
“Instructing Berkeley student group to spare no expense in renting my speaking venue — part of my legal damages,” Coulter wrote on Twitter.
“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,” writes Spencer Brown of Young America’s Foundation in a statement. The group calls itself the “principal outreach organization of the Conservative Movement” with a goal of exposing young people to conservative “principles.”
The planned Coulter speech was a collaboration among YAF, the Berkeley College Republicans and BridgeUSA, formerly known as BridgeCal.
BridgeUSA is a nonpartisan organization that aims to “create a dialogue” and challenge people with “opinions you disagree with,” says Jandhyala, the founder and president.
Coulter had planned to speak on the issue of immigration.
Jandhyala defended Coulter’s invitation, saying it helps create a “conversation on this issue of illegal immigration that needs to happen.” BridgeUSA has invited speakers of different political persuasions to campus, including a recent discussion with former Bill Clinton White House staffer Maria Echaveste.
Jandhyala says the majority of Coulter’s speaking fee, $17,000, was being paid by YAF, with $3,000 being paid by BridgeUSA.
Brown of YAF wrote that the university had initially imposed “a series of ridiculous requirements” on Coulter’s speech, including that she speak in the afternoon, and that organizers limit the audience to students and delay the announcement of the venue until close to the event time.
I acceded to Berkeley’s every silly demand (never made of lib speakers). Called their bluff & they canceled anyway. https://t.co/EQsiAEWPpW
Coulter says she agreed to the conditions, but the university still called the speech off.
The conservative Coulter, who frequently attacks liberals, was bound to draw ire at the notably liberal college campus. She’s the author of several books, including Adios, America; In Trump We Trust; and Never Trust a Liberal Over 3 — Especially a Republican.
University administrators write that they “remain firmly committed” to finding another time for Coulter to speak on campus. “We expect most Mondays and Tuesdays in September during the day should work,” they write.
This post includes reporting from The Associated Press.