Coulter deserves to speak

Liz Kacher, Staff Writer

University of California-Berkeley is experiencing an instance of someones first amendment. UC-Berkeley is feeling the fire for canceling a speech to be given by conservative author Ann Coulter scheduled for April 27.

I know I’ll find much opposition in my opinion about Ann Coulter, but I admire her as a conservative writer. Being that I am a conservative myself, I consider Ann Coulter to be an intelligent, accomplished woman who speaks the truth about the propaganda of many left-leaning democrats.

Coulter had accepted an invitation from two campus groups — the Berkeley College Republicans and BridgeUSA — to deliver a speech about immigration, the topic of one of her 12 New York Times best-selling books.

Outraged, Coulter intended to speak anyway, which I fully support. Just because other people don’t agree with what she is saying, doesn’t give any reason for UC Berkeley to take the actions they had. She spoke with The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday about Berkeley’s decision at the time.

“Yes, it was officially banned,” said the political commentator and author. “But they can’t stop me. I’m an American. I have constitutional rights.”

San Francisco Chronicle had also reported on Wednesday that Berkeley’s decision that Coulter’s speech be canceled citing riots that erupted when Milo Yiannopoulos and other conservatives have visited the university. Berkeley felt that Coulter’s speech would be unsafe.

“We have been unable to find a safe and suitable venue for your planned April 27 event featuring Ann Coulter,” Berkeley’s vice chancellors told the two groups who were set to co-host the event. Berkeley’s progressive atmosphere has historically been more accepting of more progressive speakers

“If that’s banned, then no conservative can speak,” Coulter told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. “Meanwhile, corrupt banana republic leaders like Vicente Fox have the red carpet rolled out for them on the taxpayer’s dime.”

Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, spoke at Berkeley earlier last week.

UC-Berkeley then reversed their decision, offering Coulter a chance to speak on a new date, May 2. However, Coulter said she’s unable to attend on the new date and still accused the university of threatening her rights to free speech.

A major difference between the two dates: class isn’t in session on May 2 at UC-Berkeley. I know that for myself, I’m much more likely to attend an event for a speaker when classes are actually in session. Coulter realized this too and spoke a bit about it on Twitter.

Although UC-Berkeley would never admit it, this is an act that threatens Coulter’s free speech. This phenomena is occurring across the country for conservatives. We share our thoughts on social issues and public policy, and those on the left consider us the ones whose message brings chaos and violence.

According to The Washington Post, Berkeley’s college Republican group also rejected the new arrangement and hired an attorney to represent their interests and sent a letter to the university threatening litigation.

If it doesn’t happen, the letter says, “We will seek relief in federal court, including claims for injunctive relief and damages.”

University spokesman Dan Mogulof responded to the lawsuit threat, saying, “We are confident that we are on very solid legal grounds.”

Berkeley officials of course defended themselves, justifying their decision saying the university doesn’t have an available venue open on April 27. Campus police could not adequately host Coulter without risk to the campus.

“We are concerned about her disregard for the assessment and recommendations of law enforcement professionals whose primary focus is the safety and well-being of our students and other members of our campus community,” Mogulof said.

I was surprised to hear Bill Maher weigh in on Coulter’s situation over the weekend. He faced backlash in 2014 at Berkeley when he was picked to be the winter commencement speaker.

“They invite someone to speak whose not exactly what liberals want to hear and they want to shutter it,” Maher said. “I feel like this is the liberal’s version of book burning. And it’s got to stop.”

I’m eager to hear whether or not Ann Coulter follows through on her promise to deliver her speech at the UC-Berkeley tomorrow. Is this an issue of safety or is it an issue regarding the right of free speech? I definitely agree with Coulter and Maher: it’s time for Berkeley to stop reneging the right to free speech for those who don’t fully comply with liberal standards.

Liz Kacher is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]