Coulter's Berkeley speech canceled, police prep for violence

A few people gather in the area of UC Berkeley amid the threat of planned protests

A motorcycle group led by a SC chainsaw artist is ready to take action on the University of California Berkeley after conservative commentator Ann Coulter cancelled her speech on the campus Thursday.

At an afternoon news conference, Dan Mogulof, assistant vice chancellor for public affairs, and Capt. Alex Yao, of the UC Police Department, said the campus had done everything in its power to protect Coulter's First Amendment rights while also ensuring the safety of the campus community.

Coulter, one of America's best-known and most provocative pundits on the political right, said on Wednesday that she no longer meant to defy university officials by addressing UC Berkeley students on campus this week.

The group and Coulter's well-funded financial sponsor, the Virginia-based Young America's Foundation, filed a federal free speech lawsuit Monday accusing the university of using security concerns as a guise to censor conservative viewpoints.

Troy Worden, the student group's president, says college Republicans "had to cancel the event out of concern for the safety of students".

On Wednesday's broadcast of the Fox News Channel's "Hannity", author Ann Coulter weighed in on the cancellation of her speech at UC-Berkeley and President Trump's dropping of his demand for border wall funding by stating, "I think the GOP should change their motto to 'Next Time.' We'll fight this next time".

"Groups and individuals from the extreme ends of the political spectrum have made clear their readiness and intention to utilize violent tactics in support or in protest of certain speakers at UC Berkeley", Dirks said.

Ann Coulter was scheduled to speak on April. 27 despite being canceled by UC-Berkeley, but that speech will no longer be happening because YAF pulled their support.


In emails to The Associated Press, Coulter confirmed that her planned speech on illegal immigration, followed by a question-answer session, was canceled.

"I have no sponsor, no lawyer, no court order", she added.

The students who invited her to speak sued school officials on Monday over the cancellation, claiming their rights to free speech were violated and that they were being discriminated against. The address became a campus-freedoms rallying point for conservative groups when administrators first canceled Coulter's visit, then rescheduled it to an unpopular date. She told Florida-based radio station 850 WFTL on Wednesday, "I still wanted to do it but I'm running out of options here". "And I'm so sorry for free speech crushed by thugs", Coulter said to her supporters on Facebook earlier today. The foundation said it withdrew its support of Coulter's appearance on Thursday because, without the school's cooperation, it didn't want to "jeopardize the safety of its staff or students".

Many liberals denounce what they see as a growing tolerance of aggressive and intolerant speech against minorities and immigrants. The administration, despite knowing that the conservative students had the moral right to host Coulter, implicitly sided with the activists, granting them a heckler's veto.

The tension illustrated how Berkeley has emerged as a flashpoint for extreme left and right forces amid the debate over free speech in a place where the 1960s US free speech movement began before it spread to college campuses across the nation. She announced the university's decision in a series of tweets.

"This is a university, not a battlefield", the news release said.

They say intelligence and online chatter by groups threatening to instigate violence over the acid-tongued Coulter has them on edge.

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