Just months after protests shut down a speech from a far-right pundit at the liberal bastion known as UC Berkeley, the college's typically left-leaning community is bracing to be trolled again, as it was announced this week that self-described “right-wing polemicist” Ann Coulter will be speaking at the school next month.
You likely recall that in February of this year, Berkeley was rocked by violent protests the evening that similarly right-leaning Milo Yiannopoulos scheduled to speak. The controversial Yiannopoulos, who was then an editor at alt-right website Breitbart and was riding high on a lucrative book deal with Simon & Schuster, vowed to return...a vow he was destined to leave unfulfilled, following new attention on past comments he'd made that appeared to be supportive of pedophilia that left the speaker bookdealless and disgraced.
The same organization that had invited Yiannopoulos to speak then invited Coulter to campus, NBC Bay Area reports, and a speaking date of April 27 was arranged.
“The Berkeley College Republicans have invited Ms. Coulter to speak at UC Berkeley because she has been one of the most vocal critics of illegal immigration in all its manifestations and was one of the earliest supporters of President Trump, from when he initially announced his candidacy down to the present day,” Naweed Tahmas, a spokesperson for the organization told NBC.
Also involved is student group BridgeCal, an organization that seeks to engage "different sides of an issue in respectful discourse and debate," their co-founder told the Daily Californian in February. According to the Daily Cal, BridgeCal and BCR then contacted the Young America’s Foundation, a group that says they "introduce students to conservatism through our campus programs and conference," and sealed the deal with the speaker.
"Respectful discourse and debate," indeed!
Per the Daily Cal, "Coulter will be allotted time to speak on the issue of illegal immigration, followed by a long question-and-answer period that will take up approximately half the event, as per Coulter’s request." Which doesn't sound like a tinder box that's eagerly awaiting a match at all!
In an email statement, UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof says that school "administration wishes to make clear that an invitation of this sort in no way suggests our endorsement of a particular point of view, and we will continue to affirm our commitment to the values of diversity, equality, and tolerance that underlie the greatness of Berkeley and, indeed, of our nation."
“The University is committed to freedom of expression: we cannot and will not engage in prior restraint of speech based on generalized concern that a speaker’s message may trigger disruptions," Mogulof wrote.
The Daily Cal reports that security costs for the event as as yet unknown, as organizers have yet to discuss the fees with UCPD and the campus administration. Coulter’s speaking fees are roughly $20,000, $17,000 of which will be covered by YAF. BCR and BridgeCal will foot the bill for the remainder.
The event, which the Daily Cal says is tentatively scheduled from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on April 27 (location TBD), will be free to attend.
According to an event organizer, Coulter is "very excited" to speak in Berkeley. This seems echoed by a statement the pundit provided to the Washington Examiner via YAF, saying "I hear they're nice people at Berkeley and expect a pleasant event and stimulating exchange of ideas."
Berkeley officially declared a Sanctuary City for Violent Criminals.— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) February 3, 2017