UC Berkeley Rewards Liberal Violence by Not Allowing Coulter Speech

By Katrina Trinko Published on April 20, 2017

Apparently the lesson University of California, Berkeley learned from the violent protests surrounding writer Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech earlier this year was … you shouldn’t let controversial figures give speeches.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday that commentator Ann Coulter’s upcoming speech had been canceled “for security concerns.”

“UC Berkeley officials say they were ‘unable to find a safe and suitable’ venue for the right-wing provocateur who was invited to speak by campus Republicans on April 27,” the AP report added.

This shouldn’t be acceptable.

UC Berkeley canceled Yiannopoulos’ Feb. 1 speech. The level of violence and destruction that greeted Yiannopoulos — who was rightly condemned shortly after the Berkeley violence for remarks he made months earlier about teens, adults, and sexual relationships — was astonishing. Just look at these pictures:

A worker surveys damage to a vandalized Starbucks after a protest turned violent at U.C. Berkeley over a scheduled speech by Milo Yiannopoulos in Berkeley, California.

A worker surveys damage to a vandalized Starbucks after a protest turned violent at U.C. Berkeley over a scheduled speech by Milo Yiannopoulos in Berkeley, California.

Eddy Brock, who says he is a free speech advocate and was attacked by demonstrators protesting Yiannopoulos, holds his injured head.

Eddy Brock, who says he is a free speech advocate and was attacked by demonstrators protesting Yiannopoulos, holds his injured head.

 A demonstrator protesting Yiannopoulos sets a fire in Berkeley. (Photo: Noah Berger/EPA/Newscom)

A demonstrator protesting Yiannopoulos sets a fire in Berkeley.

A light stand is set on fire during the protest at the University of California, Berkeley campus against speaker Milo Yiannopoulos.

A light stand is set on fire during the protest at the University of California, Berkeley campus against speaker Milo Yiannopoulos.

No doubt it’s quite a headache for a university to figure out how to cope with thugs who are willing to act like this, just because they want someone silenced. Although the fact that UC Berkeley appears to have arrested only one person in the aftermath of the protests suggests a lack of seriousness about holding protesters accountable for their actions.

(Update: In an email to me received after publication, Sgt. Sabrina Reich, a public information officer at University of California, Berkeley Police Department, wrote: “To date, there have been two arrests and one student is facing school discipline … but the investigative efforts continue.”)

The point is, no college should reward violent protesters by refusing to allow controversial speakers to appear.

Because this isn’t really about Coulter or Yiannopoulos or author Charles Murray, who was greeted by violent protests when he arrived to speak to Middlebury College in Vermont.

It’s about whether we as a society protect free speech — or not.

Yes, free speech can make some people, including college students, feel sad or threatened or dozens of other unpleasant emotions.

But it can also force them to realize a new insight or perspective that might challenge their values, might make them re-think their views on a certain issue. Or sometimes it works the other way: The weakness of the opposition’s argument makes someone surer that her own perspective is right.

Regardless, if we believe in a reason-driven society — one where arguments, not violence, drive our perspective — we need to allow a diversity of voices to communicate their views. We need to let people, hopefully guided by reason and a good education, to decide what they think is right — not force them, by silencing some perspectives, to adopt a certain viewpoint by default.

College students, like all Americans, deserve a chance to hear a variety of views — and then make up their own minds.

Once, colleges understood that. But U.C. Berkeley’s decision here suggests that at least this university is prioritizing some views over others.

 

Copyright 2017 The Daily Signal

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  • Christian Cowboy

    I am amazed at how angry and vial some people can be.

  • missy

    we can’t complain about violent liberal leftist protests and demonstrations if we permit this to happen!

  • stan schmunk

    Would you allow a radical leftist to speak at a Christian college? Coulter is only interested in promoting confrontation. She makes her money this way. Her ideas are irrelevant. Bring in a real conservative, one of ideas not controversy.

    • Charles Burge

      Well, I wouldn’t say he fits the definition of “radical leftist”, but Bernie Sanders was invited to speak at Liberty University during the presidential campaign. The crowd was certainly muted in their enthusiasm, but remained polite and civil throughout.

      Having said that, I’m not much of a fan of Ann Coulter either. I’m sort of scratching my head wondering why Berkeley invited her in the first place, given the current climate.

      • stan schmunk

        UCB actually makes an honest effort to promote free speech. Their reasons for denying Coulter originally were valid and so are their reasons for changing their mind. You won’t hear any of this on conservative sites however. I’m a product of the UC and would much prefer that they invite real conservatives and real liberals, not these professional provocateurs. But the clubs from the students are young and don’t get it yet.

        • Jonathan Wells

          I also attended UCB (AB 1970, PhD 1995). The 1964 Free Speech Movement (FSM) was all about giving outside leftist speakers a privileged platform on campus, not about free speech. After Mario Savio (the leader of FSM) left Berkeley, one of his first actions was to institute a politically correct speech code at Sonoma State University. Ever since the early 1970s, “free speech” at UCB has meant primarily free speech for leftists.

  • Linda Choquette

    Wouldn’t quite a bit of what she says be considered hate speech? She’s certainly not Biblical. The Kingdom of God isn’t suffering because Ann Coulter was barred from speaking. Perhaps it’s been furthered in fact.

    • Kevin Carr

      No, her speech is very truthful, some can’t stand it. To quote Frontpagemag. “Inside every Progressive is a totalitarian screaming to get out”. There are more than just Progressive that attend college, why should they be denied a chance to hear another view, why should anybody for that matter? Progressives come off more like Stalinist, silence what you don’t like. Not so oddly enough they do that to biblical views too, Progressives and Stalinist can’t stand Christianity either, so they try to silence it.

      • stan schmunk

        You’re wrong about the UCs. Do a little more research.

        • Kevin Carr

          So this stuff is made up?

    • Kevin Carr

      And what of David Horowitz? they banned him the week prior to banning Coulter. Also, Coulter asked the school administration to tell the police not to restrain themselves and to expel any student that committed violence, they would not. The administration approves of the actions of the students and is all in for censorship.

      • Linda Choquette

        I don’t know much about Horowitz, but he’s not a Christian. I don’t see banning him or Coulter as an attack on Christianity. Christian leaders such as Sammy Rodriguez, Lisa Bevere and Christine Caine could fire up young people on university campuses without all the attendant drama of a Coulter or a Horowitz that results in them being cancelled due to public safety concerns. I’m not worried.

        • Kevin Carr

          The article was about banning speakers the student body and staff disagree with, viewpoint discrimination. So Christian speakers have been dis-invited from colleges more to your point, Tony Evans comes to mind.

  • Jim Walker

    Frankly I won’t send my kids to this dumb U.

    • stan schmunk

      It’s the best public university system in the world. Your ‘kids’ will be the worse off.

  • Autrey Windle

    Free speech is for all or no one. I don’t have to like what someone says to defend to the death their right to say it. I have the same option as anyone else; not to attend a speech or listen to or read things I find despicable or harmful. To react violently to free speech is simply anarchy and should be punished by the existing laws that are not being enforced particularly on college campuses. We should cease all public funding of universities that permit, endorse or by action refuse to do anything about these idiots.

    • stan schmunk

      Try to keep up. Yesterday UCB OKd Coulter’s speech. The violence has been coming from a gang of agitators across the Bay.

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