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April 21 2017

Taking a Stand for Free Speech at UC-Berkeley

by Charlotte Allen

You don't have to agree with a thing Ann Coulter says to appreciate the bold blow she will be striking on April 27 for freedom of speech on college campuses.

Invited to air her views on immigration by three conservative student organizations at the publicly funded University of California-Berkeley campus, the best selling author and media personality was on April 19 outright rebuffed by UC-Berkeley's administrators and then, on April 20 offered a speaking date on May 2, an official "reading period" for final exams when no classes will be scheduled and few students are likely to be on campus.

Coulter has vowed to stick to the original April 27 date, which she says was tacitly agreed to by the UC-Berkeley administration when she agreed to conditions that the university set, such as limiting the audience of the speech to students and declining to announce the location of the speech until shortly before it begins.

Good on Ann! Earlier the UC-Berkeley administration canceled a planned Feb. 1 speech by conservative activist Milo Yiannopoulos after a violent campus riot by leftists that local police seemed to do little to stop. Here's the story from CNN:

Protests that erupted at UC Berkeley ahead of a planned Wednesday appearance by right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos caused $100,000 worth of damage to the campus, the school said Thursday.....

Two Berkeley College Republicans "were attacked while conducting an interview" on the campus on Thursday, UC Berkeley also said in a prepared statement. The attackers, who were not affiliated with the university, were taken into custody by UC Berkeley police.
Administrators decided to cancel the Wednesday event about two hours before the Breitbart editor's speech. UC Berkeley said it removed him from campus "amid the violence and destruction of property and out of concern for public safety."
Black-clad protesters wearing masks threw commercial-grade fireworks and rocks at police. Some even hurled Molotov cocktails that ignited fires. They also smashed windows of the student union center on the Berkeley campus where the Yiannopoulos event was to be held.
 
At least six people were injured.

The planned Coulter speech was to be hosted by three campus conservative groups: the Young America's Foundation, BridgeCal, and Berkeley College Republicans. But then, according to the Hollywood Reporter:

Coulter told THR that before they canceled her, Berkeley administrators insisted that she agree to a list of demands prior to her engagement, and that she accepted their terms.

"I've acceded to all their silly demands, which they thought would end it. When I said, 'yes, yes, yes,' they canceled anyway. No more clear-cut proof that taxpayer-supported universities will not allow conservative speakers," Coulter told THR.

"We have been unable to find a safe and suitable venue for your planned April 27 event featuring Ann Coulter," Berkeley's vice chancellors told the two groups who were set to co-host the event.

"I'm giving a speech," countered Coulter. "Speech will go on."

As Ann pointed out:

"If that's banned, then no conservative can speak," Coulter told THR on Wednesday. "Meanwhile, corrupt banana republic leaders like Vicente Fox have the red carpet rolled out for them on the taxpayer's dime."

Fox, the former president of Mexico, spoke in Berkeley this week.

"If that's banned, then no conservative can speak," Coulter told THR on Wednesday. "Meanwhile, corrupt banana republic leaders like Vicente Fox have the red carpet rolled out for them on the taxpayer's dime."

Fox, the former president of Mexico, spoke in Berkeley this week.

Yesterday the UC-Berkeley administration proffered the May 2 date, according to the Washington Post--which Coulter will be thumbing her nose at:

Coulter and the group arranging her event said they are rejecting the new invitation.

In a series of tweets Thursday night, Coulter criticized the university, saying Berkeley officials were adding “burdensome” conditions to her speech. She said she had already spent money to hold the event on the original April 27 date and is not available May 2. She also pointed out that May 2 would coincide with a reading period before final exams, when there are no classes on campus and a fewer students around.

And she vowed that she is going to speak in Berkeley on the originally planned April 27 date, whether the university approved or not.

As the Post pointed out:

“What are they going to do? Arrest me?” she said late Wednesday on the Fox News show “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

And even the reliably liberal Post couldn't help noting this irony:

The decision by Berkeley to cancel both events involving high-profile conservatives were especially notable given the campus’s role during the 1960s and 1970s as the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement and its long tradition of social protest.

Ann Coulter is standing up for the principal of free speech for thee as well as for me. Kudos to her.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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