UC Berkeley Students Try To Ban Hate Speech From Campus

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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An amendment proposed by University of California, Berkeley students aimed at cracking down on alleged hate speech from conservative speakers like Ben Shapiro failed to pass earlier this week.

The UC Berkeley student government struck down “Denouncing and Demanding the Immediate Rescission of UC Berkeley’s Subsidization of Hate Speech” in a 15-5 vote, reports the Daily Cal. The resolution called for the college to immediately stop subsidizing an upcoming Shapiro speech sponsored by the Berkeley College Republicans.

“While my personal values do not necessarily align with that of the student organization, I do not believe that we as an Association can claim to represent all UC Berkeley students if we start taking hard-lined stances against fellow students,” college senator Adnan Hemani said in an email, adding that he felt that language describing the Berkeley College Republicans was too harsh.

The resolution claimed that the college had endangered its students by inviting past speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos and Shapiro, and demanded that the college start subsidizing groups based on their financial needs and how they are helping more marginalized groups.

“The Berkeley College Republicans have displayed a consistent disregard for their fellow student’s safety, and have placed students of marginalized racial and gender identities at direct risk, by not only bringing speakers whose rhetoric disintegrates their personhood, but also bringing said speakers, and their violent audiences, into the spaces utilized by this population of marginalized students,” the resolution stated.

Others in favor of the bill said that it was necessary in order to protect students on campus, while a transgender student claimed that Shapiro had questioned her existence.

“I hope the resolution gets voted on unanimously,” Yvette Felarca, an organizer for an activist group, said before the vote. “Sanctuary means protecting immigrants … I think this resolution should take stronger language.”

Shapiro is set to speak at the campus Sept. 14, but has been fighting a battle in order to do so. Campus administrators are only allowing 1,000 people into the building where the speech will be held, citing concerns from campus police about potential agitators.

UC Berkeley officials have offered students who are traumatized over Shapiro’s speech support and counseling services should they need it.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact some speakers may have on individuals’ sense of safety and belonging. No one should be made to feel threatened or harassed simply because of who they are or for what they believe,” the announcement read.

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