Conservative commentator Ann Coulter’s scheduled April 27th appearance at the University of California – Berkeley was cancelled by the school Wednesday due to apparent security concerns.
However, Coulter is still planning to speak on campus, regardless of the school’s stance.
In an email sent to students Wednesday, UC-Berkeley Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell explained that the university had to scrap the event because they couldn’t provide a “safe and suitable venue.”
“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,” Greenwell stated, according to the Washington Examiner.
The university’s cancellation follows Berkeley becoming a hot-bed of political violence in recent months. Just last weekend, the campus town witnessed large numbers of right-wingers and left-wingers brawl in its streets. (RELATED: The Left Embrace’s Of Political Violence Backfires In Berkeley)
Famously, a February appearance by right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos was cancelled after black-masked demonstrators rioted and assaulted dozens of bystanders.
Additionally, Berkeley cited “security concerns” as the justification for cancelling a speech by conservative writer David Horowitz last week.
In spite of UC-Berkeley’s statement, Coulter and her sponsoring groups — Young America’s Foundation (YAF), BridgeCal and Berkeley College Republicans — are still committed to bringing the conservative firebrand to campus to give a lecture on immigration.
“Yes, it was officially banned,” Coulter told The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday. “But they can’t stop me. I’m an American. I have constitutional rights.”
“This is as clear-cut a case as it gets that public universities are using taxpayer dollars to shut down conservative speech, while allowing liberal speech only,” YAF spokesman Spencer Brown wrote in the statement.
Brown noted that Coulter had agreed to a number of demands by the university — such as the speech would be delivered in the afternoon and only be open to students — while offering her own requests to be upheld by the university.
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.
According to YAF, the university’s reaction to these demands “was to ban her speech.”
“We have no intention of acceding to these unconstitutional acts. The Ann Coulter lecture sponsored by Young America’s Foundation will go forward,” Brown concluded in his group’s statement.
Berkeley’s decision may have trouble being upheld in court, if a similar case from this week serves as precedent. Auburn University tried to cancel a Tuesday speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer due to security concerns — the same reason Berkeley used to block Coulter’s speech.
However, a federal judge overruled Auburn and said the university is obligated to allow Spencer to speak on campus.