Conservative commentator Ann Coulter’s on-again, off-again speech at the University of Berkeley is officially off again after the two student groups sponsoring her appearance pulled out due to safety concerns.
BridgeCal withdrew its involvement Wednesday, citing the refusal of campus police to guarantee Coulter’s safety and her own fiery rhetoric as their reasons for pulling out. And the Young America’s Foundation said it could not “jeopardize the safety of its staff or students” in the face of the dangers posed by anarchist groups protesting the event.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) April 26, 2017
“There will be no speech,” the best-selling author wrote in an email to Reuters on Wednesday in which she also criticized two conservative groups who had originally sponsored the event, saying they were no longer supporting her.
“I looked over my shoulder and my allies had joined the other team,” she wrote.
Coulter told the New York Times that she would be unable to do the speech “because local law enforcement and the university could not guarantee her safety amid fears of violent protests.”
“It’s a sad day for free speech,” she said.
She later tweeted her disdain at Berkeley, calling it a “thuggish institution.”
It’s sickening when a radical thuggish institution like Berkeley can so easily snuff out the cherished American right to free speech.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 26, 2017
In its latest update in the rapidly changing story, Fox News reported that Coulter said she would still try appear on the Berkeley campus on Thursday, but would not be giving a speech. As PJ Media reported last night, left-wing agitators were planning to show up whether she appeared or not.
As of last night the event was still on, with Coulter telling UC Berkeley student groups that she fully intended to make it to the event on Thursday.
“Ann herself is using this a little to her advantage – to engage in the test of free speech,” said Pranav Jandhyala, president of BridgeCal. He said he found Coulter’s recent public comments “unnecessarily provocative.”
“We can’t endorse an event like that,” Jandhyala said.
A UC Berkeley spokesman said the campus had received no word on Coulter’s plans — either from her or from those groups who offered to host her visit.
“The threats she mentions in her new message to the New York Times are the exact reason we want her to come on a day when a protectable venue is available,” said spokesman Dan Mogulof. “We have always been concerned for her safety.”
On the heels of three violent clashes this year between extreme left and right groups, administrators sought at first to cancel, then delay Coulter’s appearance.
Chancellor Nicholas Dirks released a public statement Wednesday that attributed the risk of mayhem and free speech challenges “to outside groups.”
“This is a University, not a battlefield,” Dirks said in the statement. “The strategies necessary to address these evolving threats are also evolving, but the simplistic view of some — that our police department can simply step in and stop violent confrontations whenever they occur — ignores reality.”
The chancellor said that despite the threats, “we have, and will remain, ready to welcome her to campus, and assume the risks, challenges, and expenses that will attend her visit. That is demanded by our commitment to Free Speech. What we will not do is allow our students, other members of the campus community, and the public to be needlessly endangered by permitting an event to be held in a venue that our police force does not believe to be protectable.”
Coulter’s appearance was to be paid for by the Virginia-based Young America’s Foundation. The Berkeley College Republicans and the foundation filed a federal free speech lawsuit Monday, accusing the university of using security concerns as a guise to censor conservative viewpoints. On Tuesday, Young America’s Foundation pulled out as Coulter’s official sponsor, saying it would continue the lawsuit but would not “jeopardize the safety of its staff or students” in the face of the dangers presented by an outdoor appearance.
The cancellation of of Coulter’s speech is a victory for the violent, regressive left. As By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) organizer Yvette Felarca said after the anarchists succeeded in shutting down Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech in February: “We need more mass protests, more militant protests that are mass and militant.”
They will continue to have success as long as university officials, the police, and city government allow virtual domestic terrorists to run roughshod over the free-speech rights of libertarians and conservatives under the guise of “mass protests.”