WASHINGTON – A defiant and furious Ann Coulter explained to WND in detail why she is vowing to show up and give a scheduled speech at the University of California at Berkeley, even though the university had canceled her appearance just hours earlier.
“I AM speaking,” she proclaimed in an email to WND.
Coulter made clear she is livid about the cancellation and the university’s apparent disregard for creating a safe environment for her scheduled speech.
That was evidenced by her use of all capital letters to make the point that she has not agreed to the cancellation.
“THEY’VE CANCELED — ALTHOUGH I MET EVERY ONE OF THEIR SILLY DEMANDS. I’M STILL SPEAKING,” she vowed.
Coulter called an article by CBS Bay Area outlining the university’s explanation for the cancellation “all lies.”
The best-selling conservative author was invited to speak on the famously left-wing campus by the student group Young Americans for Freedom, or YAF.
She shared with WND a letter sent to YAF from the university’s Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton explaining the cancellation (reproduced below.)
“This letter from Berkeley is an outrage,” Coulter told WND. “There’s no legitimate reason why they would need to delay my speech by five months(!) and then only allow it during daylight hours, when students are in classes.”
“Giving 4 weeks advance notice — as they suddenly demand — gives the violent opposition time to organize and virtually guarantees a speech will shut down. The way to safely give a speech I think is more like 4 hours notice.”
Coulter was to speak at 7:30 p.m. Pacific time on April 27. Through YAF, she has been negotiating with the university for days, trying to ensure a safe forum for an exchange of ideas with students in a question and answer session, after giving a speech.
After getting increasing resistance from the university over her concerns, Coulter shared with WND this letter she sent to YAF Tuesday, in which her growing frustration with the university’s intransigence is apparent.
It is an inside look at her concerns as well as her attempts to get the university to ensure the safety of it’s own students, and allow for the free exchange of ideas:
Instead of quibbling over the little stuff, let’s get something big in return. All of us are presumably working toward the same end.
We all know what’s being planned and failure to take the following 2 basic steps is PROOF that they have no intention of ever allowing conservative speakers on the Berkeley campus.
A) The no. 1 important issue is that the local police chief has repeatedly ordered his men to stand down whenever a conservative speaker shows up on campus, letting the rioters shut it down. (University of California President) Janet Napolitano has got to have a chat with the local police chief. It’s shocking and shameful how he has ordered his men to DO NOTHING. Do not tell me the chancellor of the California university system does not have to power to change his mind!!!
B) Berkeley needs to announce in advance that any students caught rioting, fighting, throwing things, heckling or otherwise disrupting invited speakers, will be expelled. Again, I AGREE WITH THEM that this is not students rioting, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Will the school be providing metal detectors? We are going to need help with big guys at the doors checking student IDs. If we agree to their plan of a 2pm speech and their idea of students only (plus my friends), then they ought to be helping us with this. IF THEY WANT FREE SPEECH TO BE ALLOWED AT BERKELEY THEY HAVE THE POWER TO DO SO.
Coulter told the Washington Post the university tried to force her to cancel her speech by “imposing ridiculous demands,” even though, as she told WND, she had agreed “to all of their silly requirements.”
Those demands included holding the event at midday rather than in evening, letting only students attend, and not announcing the exact venue until the last minute.
Coulter said even though she agreed with the conditions, her speech “has been unconstitutionally banned” by the “public, taxpayer-supported U.C. Berkeley.”
“They just up and announced that I was prohibited from speaking anyway,” she maintained.
“I feel like the Constitution is important and that taxpayer-supported universities should not be using public funds to violate American citizens’ constitutional rights,” Coulter added.
Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said the university wants to reschedule Coulter for sometime September, and claimed it did not cancel her event because of her conservative opinions.
Coulter was scheduled to speak about immigration. The best-selling author has spoken and written often about her strong belief that the sharp rise in illegal immigration over recent decades has done more damage to the country than anything else.
U.C. Berkeley became famous as the home of the Free Speech Movement in the 1964–65 academic year. But the bastion of leftism has seen its reputation for free speech severely tarnished in recent weeks.
- Former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopolous canceled an appearance and had to flee for his safety in February after protesters rioted, causing several injuries, outside the event site.
- An appearance by conservative writer David Horowitz was canceled last week because university police told a campus Republican group it could not ensure security.
- 21 people were arrested over the weekend as hundreds of leftists attacked supporters of President Trump holding a rally.
During the February 2, melee that forced Yiannopolous to cancel his event, rioters beat up Trump supporters, pepper-sprayed bystanders, looted a Starbucks, smashed bank windows and ATMs, and spray-painted “Kill Trump” on storefronts.
President Trump responded with a tweet threatening to turn off the federal money cash flow to the university.
That’s no small threat. Last year, U.C. Berkeley received more than half of its research funding from the federal government.
The $370 million the government gave the university amounted to 55 percent of its $673.9 million dollar research budget.
This is the letter from the university’s Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton to the YAF, explaining the Coulter cancellation:
Dear Naweed and Ross,
We understand that earlier this evening our Dean of Students, Joseph Greenwell, informed your leadership that despite extensive efforts on the part of UCPD and the staff within Student Affairs, we have been unable to find a safe and suitable venue for your planned April 27th event featuring Ann Coulter. We therefore must now work together to reschedule her appearance for a later date. We regret this outcome—especially given our unqualified support for our students’ right to bring speakers of their choosing to the University, and our deep commitment to the values and principles embedded in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
While Registered Student Organizations like yours are independent from the University, and have the right to invite whoever they’d like to speak here, the campus retains responsibility for ensuring safety and security during such events. This includes the safety and security of invited speakers, of those who attend such events, of our community neighbors, and of those who choose to exercise their own First Amendment rights by lawfully protesting the presence of speakers with whom they disagree. In this context, we greatly appreciate recent public comments by your spokespeople, who have offered full support for increased security measures in and around high-profile events.
As a general matter, the timing of an event, as well the location and nature of the venue, play an important role when it comes to the safety and security of the speaker, attendees, our community neighbors, as well as individuals engaged in lawful protest. In the wake of events surrounding the planned appearance by Milo Yiannopoulos in February, as well as several riots which have occurred in recent weeks in the City of Berkeley, we have increased our scrutiny regarding the time and location of high-profile speakers so that these events can go forward unimpeded.
We base our decisions regarding an event’s timing and location on the objective analysis of the law enforcement professionals of UCPD as to how best to ensure safety for all while maximizing the chances that the event can take place as planned.
For that reason, when we learned through the newspapers that you had invited Ms. Coulter to speak here on April 27th, we immediately asked UCPD to conduct a comprehensive review of potential sites and security
arrangements. Unfortunately, UCPD determined that, given currently active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully—or that the safety of Ms. Coulter, the event sponsors, audience, and bystanders could be adequately protected—at any of the campus venues available on April 27th. One of the primary lessons learned here is that before a student organization commits to hosting an event on a specific date, we need to first work together to
determine if a suitable venue is available at that time.
We realize that this is disappointing news, but the good news is that UCPD and Student Affairs remain firmly committed to working with you to find an alternative time and date for Ms. Coulter to come speak here at Berkeley. We expect most Mondays and Tuesdays in September during the day should work, though we will of course need to work through the details. To make this process a success, we will need at least four weeks notice to collaborate on identifying an appropriate venue, time of day, and security arrangements. We are confident that with sufficient lead-time and continued collaboration we can together do what is necessary to offer the broadest possible range of speakers and events on the Berkeley campus.
Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy
Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton