Conservative author Ben Shapiro plans to speak at the University of California, Berkeley in September, according to a Tuesday announcement.
Young America’s Foundation (YAF), a conservative group with chapters at universities nationwide, plans to co-sponsor the September 14, 2017, speech with Berkeley College Republicans, according to a Tuesday press release obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“I look forward to speaking to students of all viewpoints at Berkeley,” said Ben Shapiro in the press release. “I expect that the administration will not hide behind the heckler’s veto of despicable groups like Antifa to prevent this event from moving forward. The home of the free speech movement has an obligation to protect free speech.” (RELATED: The Battle Of Berkeley: The Shimshock Show Ep. 2)
Several protests and altercations between Trump supporters and antifascists have occurred at Berkeley in 2017, including the riot that canceled conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos’ February speech, a “March 4 Trump” conflict, and a Patriots Day rally skirmish in April. Yiannopoulous plans to return to UC Berkeley for a Free Speech Week event some time in the fall. (RELATED: Milo Unveils ‘Free Speech Week’ At Berkeley To Tackle Feminism, Islam, BLM)
“Berkeley has a choice: To uphold the the First Amendment rights of all students, or once again cave under pressure from extreme leftists and unconstitutionally censor conservative speech,” said Spencer Brown, a spokesman for YAF, in the press release. “Berkeley administrators would be wise to offer the same platform to Ben Shapiro and the conservative students hosting him that they’ve given the parade of leftist speakers who’ve appeared at Berkeley.”
Dan Mogulof, assistant vice chancellor of communications and public affairs at Berkeley, expressed a desire to ensure that the Shapiro event proceeded smoothly, in a conversation with TheDCNF.
“We want to state unequivocally that Mr. Shapiro is welcome on the Berkeley campus and that we will work with the student organization to ensure they can host a safe and successful event,” said Mogulof to TheDCNF. “[Berkeley College Republicans] has requested a venue on the main campus that can accommodate 500 attendees at 7pm on September 14th.”
“We will now, as per standard practice, work with the students to determine whether a suitable venue of that size is available on the intended date and time,” said the assistant vice chancellor, referring to a procedure that contributed to the cancellation of Ann Coulter’s planned speech in April. “[Our commitment to ensuring Shapiro can speak] can be fulfilled only when events are held at a time and location that allow for the provision of any required security measures.”
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