UC Berkeley calls off Ann Coulter talk for security reasons


The University of California at Berkeley has canceled a speech by conservative pundit Ann Coulter.

University officials said although the student organization that invited Coulter was independent and was free to welcome whoever they wished at Berkeley, the campus was responsible "for ensuring safety and security during such events".

The Times notes that the Berkeley College Republicans will still host Coulter on April 27, but her speech will take place off campus.

Coulter reacted angrily to the cancellation on Wednesday, saying in a series of tweets that it amounted to censorship and vowing nonetheless to show up at Berkeley as scheduled. Auburn University tried to cancel a Tuesday speech by white nationalist Richard Spencer due to security concerns - the same reason Berkeley used to block Coulter's speech.

The university also wrote that it wanted to maintain the ability of student groups to invite speakers to campus, and reiterated Berkeley's "deep commitment to the values and principles embedded in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution".

News organizations obtained a copy of the letter Wednesday.

Berkeley is still reeling from a violent protest that erupted on April 15 when supporters and opponents of President Donald Trump clashed. In February, university officials canceled a planned event by Milo Yiannopoulos, the media provocateur and former writer for the Breitbart. "Even after Coulter went along with their ruses and guises to shut down her speech, they simply announced, like Kim Jung Un, that it was cancelled".

The Berkeley College Republicans did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the cancelation. "Given current active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully".

Coulter made clear she is livid about the cancellation and the university's apparent disregard for creating a safe environment for her scheduled speech. She called claims of the university trying to set up an alternate date "FAKE NEWS!"

Coulter complied with all of these demands provided that Oakland police would do their jobs and the University would denounce any violence or disruptions to her speech as intolerable.

Officials learned of Coulter's event, the letter said, from reading about it in newspapers. We expect most Mondays and Tuesdays in September during the day should work, though we will of course need to work through the details.

Spencer Brown, spokesman for the Young America's Foundation, which is paying $17,000 of Coulter's $20,000 fee, said her speech will happen "whether Berkeley likes it or not", notes the San Francisco Chronicle.

Group members have stressed that they have "no intention of acceding to these unconstitutional acts".