News & Politics

UC-Berkeley Cancels Ann Coulter Speech Due to Potential Violence

UC-Berkeley Cancels Ann Coulter Speech Due to Potential Violence
(AP Photo/Kirksville Daily Express, Al Maglio)

“So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war,” Lincoln supposedly said to Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Do you think the University of California at Berkeley would have let her speak?

School authorities cancelled an appearance by conservative author Ann Coulter, citing the potential for violence and the fact that everyone on campus disagrees with her.

Oh, wait. That last part isn’t true. Or is it?

Associated Press:

Ann Coulter fired off an angry stream of tweets Wednesday vowing to speak as planned next week at the University of California, Berkeley after campus officials called off the event for security concerns.

“I WILL BE SPEAKING NEXT THURSDAY,” the right-wing commentator tweeted, calling the move to cancel her planned event on April 27 a ban on free speech.

Coulter was invited to speak at Berkeley by campus Republicans on the subject of illegal immigration. The event raised concerns of more violence at Berkeley, where masked rioters smashed windows, set fires and shut down an appearance by former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos in February.

University officials sent the Berkeley College Republicans a letter Tuesday, saying that officials and campus police had determined they could not ensure the safety of Coulter, audience members or protesters expected at the event.

“We have been unable to find a safe and suitable venue,” said the letter from Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton. “Given current active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully.”

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter Wednesday.

The cancellation comes days after violent clashes between far-right and far-left protesters Saturday at a rally supporting President Donald Trump in downtown Berkeley.

University spokesman Dan Mogulof said that campus police learned that some of the groups that appeared to be responsible for the violence last weekend and at the Yiannopoulos event “planned to target the appearance of Ann Coulter on campus.”

Last week, posters went up on campus threatening disruption of the event and officials also found chatter on various websites indicating the possibility of planned violence, Mogulof said.

In its letter, the university said the students and officials could work together to reschedule the event for a later date. It noted that “most Mondays and Tuesdays in September during the day should work.”

Coulter posted eight tweets in a span of 17 minutes after reports of the cancellation surfaced Wednesday. She called claims of the university trying to set up an alternate date “FAKE NEWS!”

The circle has now been closed. It was at Berkeley in the 1960s where the free speech movement found a voice. At that time, it was liberal students fighting against conservative administrators.

Now it’s fascist brown shirts against a lily-livered  administration.

Longtime policeman Jack Dunphy writing in PJ Media last week:

U.C. authorities will have had a month to prepare for Ms. Coulter’s appearance, ample time in which to take the necessary steps to secure her right to speak, the audience’s right to listen, and anyone’s right to protest peacefully. But, coming as it does in the wake of the Milo Yiannopoulos debacle, the invitation to Coulter will be seen as a thumb in the eye to those who would refuse any conservative a platform on the Cal campus, a large number of whom will surely turn out in an effort to see that Ms. Coulter is driven from the campus just as swiftly as Mr. Yiannopoulos was.

If campus administrators and police wish to prevent that from happening, there are some very simple steps they must take. First, they should arrange a meeting with the leaders of whichever groups are planning to protest the event. Listen to their concerns, but emphasize that the law will be enforced, with violators facing arrest where necessary.

Second, publicize this stance through the school newspaper and social media, and let it be known that any U.C. student who engages in the type of behavior seen at the Milo Yiannopoulos event will, in addition to any punishment meted out in court, face school discipline and possible expulsion.

Third, have campus police reach out to surrounding jurisdictions in anticipation of the need for mutual aid. Ensure that communication and lines of command among the various police departments can be maintained and that a sufficient number of officers are deployed and properly equipped.

Fourth, on the day of the event, establish a clear route for audience members to enter the venue and post officers to ensure their safety. Also, have some officers equipped to film whatever may transpire. Too often, the police are left to explain video footage in the media that may have been edited in such a way as to show them in a harsh light. By filming the entirety of the event, the police can show that any force used was in response to aggression. A police officer acting within the law need not fear being filmed if the footage is presented honestly.

Fifth, at the first appearance of any black-clad demonstrators carrying backpacks and wearing masks, stop them and investigate.

Dunphy pointed out the utter cowardice displayed by Berkeley Police Chief Margo Bennett, who defended her department’s failure to keep the peace during the riot that occurred when Milo Yiannopoulos appeared on campus by “offering the rationalization that has become standard for people in her position: The police used ‘tremendous restraint,’ she said, for fear of escalating the situation and causing further injuries and property damage.”

The fact is, Bennett and Berkeley administrators did nothing prior to the event to ensure the safety of those wanting to hear Milo. Police using restraint during a riot is dubious, but defensible. Not taking pro-active steps to see that violence doesn’t happen isn’t.

No doubt the fascist left is cheering cancellation of Coulter’s speech. They obviously do not have the self-awareness to understand the consequences of stifling speakers with whom they disagree. It makes one fear for the future of America that so many people so cavalierly ignore what thousands have died to defend.