Ann Coulter, the controversial conservative commentator who was invited by a UC Berkeley student group to speak on campus, said Wednesday that she'd called off her planned speech, according to the group and media reports.
Rather than cancelling Ms Coulter's speech altogether, university authorities had asked her to hold it next week and at an earlier time, when the risk of clashes was lower. The law doesn't allow "masked antifa protesters" to threaten people at will, like they did during the Milo Yiannopoulos riots in Berkeley when city police "didn't lift a finger" to stop thugs.
Submit your Newswire tips here. The university had said the speech would create security concerns and tried to move the speech to May 2.
Coulter was invited by campus Republicans to speak at Berkeley and her speaking fee was to be subsidized by a conservative group called the Young America's Foundation, which pulled its support Tuesday citing concerns of violence.
University of California Police department Captain Alex Yao said at the conference the school had received credible threats that could have affected the safety and security of people on campus, but declined to go into detail.
Coulter had been scheduled to speak on Thursday at the invitation of the Young America's Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans. "On college campuses, that means that the best way to combat hateful speech is through counter-speech, vigorous and creative protest, and debate, not threats of violence or censorship", ACLU National Legal Director David Cole said. They said they could not provide a safe venue. Antifascist and anarchist protesters turned a crowd of students protesting Yiannopoulos in February into a violent mob breaking windows and setting fires, and police advised university officials to cancel his speech.
Berkeley student Joseph Pagadara, 19, said he is anxious about violence and says the university is caught in the middle of the country's political divide.
A university spokesman says the school values the amendment but the group organizing the speaking engagement didn't follow proper procedure.
"I didn't intend to do this, but I'm going to hop on plane, right now, and I'm going to do her speech", he said.
Berkeley, known as the home of the free speech movement, was under heavy police watch on Thursday as hundreds of people waving American flags and chanting U.S. gathered in a park to protest a canceled appearance by conservative commentator Ann Coulter.
"I heard she canceled and immediately headed to the airport to do the speech on her behalf", McInnes tweeted.
"Of course you can protect us".
At Berkeley, the site of countless protests and the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement of the 1960s, the level of extremism was unprecedented. That individual freedom includes protecting the First Amendment and it seems that YAF left the battlefield at the first opportunity they had by withdrawing their support for Coulter. "A lawsuit is a long-term remedy that is going to affect not just Ann Coulter's speech but other speakers at UC Berkeley", Dhillon told reporters.
"Obviously Ann Coulter is outrageous - to my mind, off the wall", he told the Huffington Post.
The lawyer pointed to a letter she sent the university's lawyer Wednesday morning, in response to his request for where and when Coulter was planning to speak Thursday.