The Anti-Free Speech Movement
UC Berkeley’s gravediggers of freedom.
UC Berkeley, birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, has stabbed free speech in the back once again.
Last week it effectively canceled a long planned speech by David Horowitz. Today it canceled a long planned speech by Ann Coulter scheduled for April 27.
As they did with Horowitz, UC officials, citing safety concerns, first tried to bureaucratically shrink the Coulter speech out of existence by informing Young Americans for Freedom, sponsors of the event, that Coulter could speak only in the afternoon when students were in classes; that only students could attend; and, in a Kafkaesque twist, that the location of the speech would be distant from the center of campus and not be announced until just before it occurred.
Coulter agreed to these conditions. But she added two stipulations that called the bureaucrats’ bluff that this was about public safety rather than the suppression of the free speech of conservatives. She asked that the Chancellor not require police to stand down in the face of anticipated violence by thugs, as he has in the past; and she asked that the UC administration make it clear than any student trying violently to disrupt the speech would be expelled.
The University replied by cancelling Coulter’s speech outright.
Berkeley officials are no doubt congratulating themselves that they have dodged another bullet and that the smokescreen created by their histrionic concerns for “public safety” will conceal their unwillingness to defend free speech and prevent their campus from being cleansed of conservative ideas.
They are as cowardly as they are hypocritical. A few weeks ago, their campus police stood by and allowed masked thugs to disrupt an appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos, committing over a hundred thousand dollars worth of university property while violently attacking bystanders. A week ago, campus police chief Andrew Yao took the lead in creating the conditions—an infeasible time, a distant off campus venue, and the requirement of a “security fee” of over five thousand dollars—that forced the cancelation of David Horowitz’s speech.
At Berkeley, those who should protect public safety and prevent violence and intimidation on campus, in other words, create the Orwellian rules that avert crisis by preventing speech. They are the gravediggers of freedom.
Only the left has free speech rights at UC Berkeley. Tenured radicals on the faculty will continue to make their classrooms into indoctrination chambers without impediment. Members of groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, a front group for the Hamas terrorists, will never have to worry that their hate speech will be curtailed, or that their anti Semitic speakers will be quarantined in a distant location. Far from having to post a “security fee,” this organization receives campus funding.
Groups such as the SJP will continue to spread their rancid ideology without inhibition or opposition because those who might challenge them are forbidden from speaking.
By threatening to return in force if someone expresses views they disagree with, the masked thugs UC bureaucrats and their police force allowed to trash the university now write the rules. By appeasing them, the school’s administrators have created the nation’s most powerful Anti Free Speech Movement and spit in the face of Berkeley’s own history and traditions.