Ann Coulter on Cal: 'No school accepting public funds can ban free speech'

BERKELEY (KTVU) -- A planned speech next week on the campus of UC Berkeley by conservative pundit Ann Coulter was said to be canceled because officials were unable to secure a "safe and suitable venue." 

However, Young America's Foundation, BridgeCal and Berkeley College Republicans say the event will still go on. Ann Coulter also confirms she will be speaking next Thursday. 

This comes after Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy and student affairs Vice Chancellor Stephen Sutton wrote to the Berkeley College Republicans Tuesday saying, "We have been unable to find a safe and suitable venue for your planned April 27th event featuring Ann Coulter. We therefore must now work together to reschedule her appearance for a later date."

Ann Coulter tweeted her speech will go on. She said she will speak on Thursday. She said "No school accepting public funds can ban free speech."

Young America's Foundation, BridgeCal and Berkeley College Republicans released the following statement that reads in part:

"UC-Berkeley, a publicly-funded university, first imposed a series of ridiculous requirements on the speech allegedly in the name of 'safety.' Coulter, we were informed, would be required to deliver her speech in the afternoon; only students would be allowed to attend; and the speech location would not be announced until close to the event. 

Against our advice, Coulter agreed to all these requirements.  In return, she requested two measures, which actually had something to do with safety:

1) That the University of California chancellor request that the Oakland chief of police refrain from telling his men to stand down and ignore law-breaking by rioters attempting to shut down conservative speakers, as he has done in the past; and

2) That UC-Berkeley announce in advance that any students engaging in violence, mayhem or heckling to prevent an invited speaker from speaking would be expelled.

As Coulter explained, 'If Berkeley wants to have free speech, it can have it.'

The university's response was to ban her speech.

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. UC-Berkeley has for example, welcomed the corrupt former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, who has cursed at and mocked Donald Trump, currently the President of the United States.

The university, and U-C chancellor Janet Napolitano personally, have revealed themselves to be using taxpayer money for an unconstitutional purpose.  Even after Coulter went along with their ruses and guises to shut down her speech, they simply announced, like Kim Jung Un, that it was cancelled."

In the news release Young America's Foundation, BridgeCal and Berkeley College Republicans state, "We have no intention of acceding to these unconstitutional acts.  The Ann Coulter lecture sponsored by Young America's Foundation will go forward."

Berkeley is still reeling from a violent protest that erupted on April 15 when supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump clashed. During that event, 20 people were arrested and 11 people were hurt during the melee that broke out.

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Several hundred demonstrators and counter-demonstrators gathered at the Martin Luther King. Jr. Civic Center Park for the April 15 rallies. Similar rallies were held at the park on March 4 and resulted in 10 people being arrested.

Campus administrators said registered student groups have the right to invite speakers to address their groups but school officials must still provide safety and security during the events.

"In the wake of events surrounding the planned appearance by 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," the vice chancellors wrote.

School officials said they based their decision after a review by campus police, which concluded that "given currently active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully—or that the safety of Ms. Coulter, the event sponsors, audience, and bystanders could be adequately protected—at any of the campus venues available on April 27th."

Members of the campus Republican group did not immediately respond to the development.

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