Welp, for all those warriors on the alt-right and far left who were dusting off their helmets and makeshift weapons in preparation for a new Battle of Berkeley this week, this should be a big letdown: Ann Coulter will not be pushing her way onto campus Thursday as she allegedly promised to yesterday, following a week of back-and-forth with the university and much debate in the media. "I looked over my shoulder and my allies had joined the other team," Coulter tells Reuters, although it appears it was the university who was, for the second time, doing the canceling. Reportedly, the student groups who had originally invited Coulter backed out of supporting the event in the last 24 hours.
It could be, too, that Coulter did not have the courage of her convictions when it comes to free speech if she wasn't being paid. "Anything that [Coulter] does on Thursday at UC Berkeley she’s paying for,” says Pranav Jandhyala, founder and co-president of BridgeUSA, speaking to the Daily Californian, in reaction to reports that Coulter planned to speak in a public plaza if the university did not provide her with an indoor venue. Coulter, tweeting about these reports Tuesday, calls that inaccurate.
CORRECTION: I haven't spoken to any Berkeley students about when and where I will speak because I'm still waiting for Berkeley to tell me. https://t.co/xdqhzWtuGL— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 26, 2017
WAPO emailed, but I can't be on email all day. Sounds like a telephone game of misinformation. Still expect Berkeley to provide a room. https://t.co/xdqhzWtuGL— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 26, 2017
According to the Washington Post, in addition to BridgeUSA a moderate student group at UC Berkeley the Young America's Foundation (YAF) also withdrew their support and ordered Coulter not to appear. Says Coulter, the university then realized the group “wasn’t serious and dropped ongoing negotiations over a room. Everyone who should be for free speech has turned tail and run."
According to the Daily Cal, despite withdrawing their support, the YAF is continuing to pursue the lawsuit they filed Monday, jointly with Berkeley College Republicans, against multiple university administrators and UCB itself, claiming discrimination and a violation of their free-speech rights in the cancellation and then rescheduling of Coulter's speech. YAF continues to have strong words for the university saying in a statement, "When Young America’s Foundation confirmed Ann Coulter would speak at UC-Berkeley we assumed UC Berkeley would take all steps necessary to ensure the safety of students attending the educational event. Berkeley should be ashamed for creating this hostile atmosphere."
Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks sent out a university-wide message Wednesday saying, "This is a University, not a battlefield. We must make every effort to hold events at a time and location that maximizes the chances that First Amendment rights can be successfully exercised and that community members can be protected." Per the Washington Post, he further added, "While our commitment to freedom of speech and expression remains absolute, we have an obligation to heed our police department’s assessment of how best to hold safe and successful events."
University administrators attempted to cancel the Coulter event on April 27, and then to postpone it until the fall, following the widely publicized street battle that broke out two weekends ago, on April 15 the third time in recent months that the streets of Berkeley were filled with politically motivated mayhem with pro-Trump factions and anarchists and self-proclaimed anti-fascists antagonizing each other, brawling, and destroying property. In attempting to placate the student groups who invited Coulter, the university proposed moving the event to next Tuesday afternoon during "dead week" on campus, when students are preparing for final exams and there are no classes, but Coulter made a lot of noise last week about that being unacceptable.