The University of California, Berkeley canceled an upcoming campus lecture by Ann Coulter on Wednesday, citing security concerns as the chief impetus for its decision. Coulter and her sponsoring organizations, however, intend to proceed with the event as planned anyway.
Young America's Foundation, the national conservative organization sponsoring and organizing Coulter's lecture, told the Washington Examiner Wednesday afternoon that Berkeley Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell emailed student organizers to say his staff was unable to find a "safe and suitable venue" for the speech.
"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," the email read.
In a statement to press, YAF (my previous employer) explained that Coulter agreed to all of the university's requirements of her, asking in return they agree to only two stipulations.
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.
The school's abrupt cancellation comes on the heels of violent protests that broke out near campus on Saturday, resulting in the arrests of 21 demonstrators clashing over President Trump. In February, leftist protests over a Breitbart writer's scheduled lecture devolved into violence as well, sending the campus into a lockdown for hours.
In its statement to press, YAF, which is sponsoring the event along with BridgeCal and the Berkeley College Republicans explained, "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."
Coulter, a 12-time New York Times bestselling author, has traveled the campus lecture circuit for years, often through YAF. Her lecture, set to focus on immigration, is slated for April 27.
YAF is planning to live stream the event on its website.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.