Young America's Foundation, the national organization sponsoring Ann Coulter's highly-anticipated lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, was forced to pull its involvement on Tuesday over increasingly serious threats to student safety.
"As a parent and a taxpayer, I want the next generation to learn in an educational environment, not a circus," Ron Robinson, President of Young America's Foundation (YAF) told the Washington Examiner. "I had the misfortune of being in a leftist riot as a student, and I wouldn't want to put my children or anyone else's children into that situation without assurances that law enforcement would protect them."
According to YAF (my previous employer), "The University of California Police Department at Berkeley has a 'stand-down' policy for any situation that develops on campus as long as the situation doesn't involve the imminent loss of life." This policy, YAF says, "[allows] the leftist thugs who have terrorized Berkeley's campus to do so without consequence."
YAF told the Washington Examiner on Tuesday it would not be moving forward with the event "due to the lack of assurances for protections from foreseeable violence from unrestrained leftist agitators."
It is unclear whether Coulter herself plans to follow suit.
The organization was made aware of credible threats of violence from radical leftist organizations ahead of the lecture scheduled for Thursday afternoon and reported having no confidence that the school would take action to mitigate any outbursts, jeopardizing the security of students simply seeking to hear from Coulter.
But YAF is not letting UC-Berkeley off the hook. The group confirmed it will continue pursuing the lawsuit it filed in federal court yesterday with the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR). They are suing the school for violating their rights to free speech, due process, and equal protection over its handling of the lecture.
"YAF... looks forward to the day when First Amendment freedoms are enjoyed by conservative students," the organization said.
Coulter, a 12-time New York Times bestselling author, has traveled the campus lecture circuit for roughly two decades without facing threats of this magnitude. It is high time for academia to reflect on what's changed and how it can be stopped. Berkeley's inability to give conservatives the peace of mind to safely engage in free speech on a public college campus without the threat of violence is stunning.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.