The University of California, Berkeley cut the number of students able to hear Ben Shapiro speak September 14 by half, Shapiro’s sponsor announced Tuesday.
UC Berkeley will only allow 1,042 out of 1,978 of the venue’s seats to be filled, despite more than 2,500 individuals confirming their interest in attending Shapiro’s lecture, according to Young America’s Foundation (YAF), the speaker’s sponsor.
“I’ve never heard of anything like it before,” said Shapiro to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We paid an extra $15,000 security fee, and now they’re not even issuing tickets and they’re restricting the venue. Berkeley should have stated that everything would proceed as normal — that the event would take place using normal ticket channels, with the venue open as normal, and that they’d provide security necessary to achieve that goal.”
“That would put an end to the heckler’s veto. They won’t, and so they’re encouraging Antifa and other violent groups to make it too expensive for Berkeley to do the right thing.”
Shapiro also asserted that UC Berkeley would not provide tickets until at least two days before his lecture.
“Other events taking place at Zellerbach Hall have used print-at-home tickets or day-of ticket pickup,” said Spencer Brown, YAF’s spokesman, to TheDCNF, citing Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s speech to a capacity crowd at the venue. “UC Berkeley is able to secure dozens of lectures and other speaking events that take place on their campus, in addition to major collegiate sporting events across a dozen venues, so why are they unable to protect a room full of people engaging in a free exchange of ideas with a leading conservative?”
Brown explained in the press release that UC Berkeley should be focusing instead on bringing Antifa and other criminals to justice.
YAF asserts that UC Berkeley wants attendees of Shapiro’s event to pick up tickets in-person on campus instead of using online reservations or printing tickets from home.
“Because audience size has a substantial impact on basic security fees assessed for all students groups, the [Berkeley College Republicans’] security fee for this event will be reduced from $15,738 to $9,162,” Dan Mogulof, a UC Berkeley spokesman, told TheDCNF. “That assessment was based on specific, objective, content neutral criteria that are applied to all student events, and are delineated in the campus’s event policy.” (RELATED: Berkeley College Republicans Slapped With $15,000 Fine To Host Ben Shapiro)
Mogulof noted that the school’s event policy enabled the University of California Police Department (UCPD) to revise its security assessment. UC Berkeley informed the Berkeley College Republicans Tuesday that entrance to the event will require photo ID, individuals and organizations will not be permitted “large blocks of tickets,” “Will Call” tickets would be unavailable on the day of the event for reasons pertaining to the security and authenticity of ticket purchasers, and that seats on the balcony — the remaining 936 seats in the venue — would be off-limits due to concern for injuries that could be sustained by individuals in the event of altercations.
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