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Berkeley Faculty Suggests Boycotting Classes To Protest Milo’s ‘Free Speech Week’

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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University of California, Berkeley faculty members called for a boycott Wednesday during “Free Speech Week,” in an effort to keep their students safe from speakers like Milo Yiannopoulos.

Seventy-six faculty members signed a letter calling Free Speech Week, an event from Sept. 24-27, potentially dangerous for some of the college’s minority students since speakers like Yiannopoulos and Steve Bannon are set to attend, reports the Daily Cal.

The boycott letter, written by seven faculty members, demands three things: faculty should cancel their classes and allow the students to stay home, close down other buildings so staff can stay home as well, and refrain from punishing students who don’t show up to class that week.

The college has yet to make an official announcement about the speakers and the event, the letter adds.

“As faculty we cannot ask students and staff to choose between risking their physical and mental safety in order to attend class or come to work in an environment of harassment, intimidation, violence  and militarized policing,” the letter reads. “The reality is that particularly vulnerable populations (DACA students, non-white, gender queer, Muslims, disabled, feminists and others) have already been harmed and are reporting increasing levels of fear and anxiety about the upcoming events. ”

Yiannopoulos and Bannon are set to give speeches during Free Speech Week, an event planned by the Berkeley Patriot, the conservative paper for college students. The week will also feature events like “Feminism Awareness Day” and “Mario Savio is Dead.”

Yiannopoulos applauded the boycott, calling it “fantastic.”

“Free Speech Week is getting results already. If all it takes to stop left-wing indoctrination on campus is me showing up, I’ll happily move in to a tent on Sproul plaza full time,” he told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The assistant vice chancellor said the college has a legal obligation to allow the speakers, according to case law.

“The University’s legal obligation is clear. The protections for free speech contained in the First Amendment as interpreted by subsequent case law oblige us to allow any speaker who has been invited in accordance with our policies to speak without discrimination in regard to content. It is up to faculty to decide how they plan to cover the curriculum for their classes over the course of a semester,” Dan Mogulof, Assistant Vice Chancellor, told TheDCNF.

Ben Shapiro, the editor-in chief of the Daily Wire, is set to give a talk at UC Berkeley Thursday, but has run into problems along the way. The school has offered counseling to any students who feel traumatized by the event and is only allowing about 1,000 people to attend the event, even though the building can hold about 2,000. The police cited safety concerns in making the decision.

Rob Shimshock contributed to this report 

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