Just hours after Thursday’s report that UC Berkeley was denying conservative pundit Ben Shapiro a campus venue for a proposed September 14 speech, the Chronicle reports that the university has agreed to host the Shapiro on that date, albeit at a smaller venue than requested, and even offered to underwrite the venue fee if the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) agree, depending on various venue and security accommodations. While Shapiro himself may not be particularly high-profile, these discussions come after the cancellation of a Milo Yiannopoulos speech in February and the disintegration of an Ann Coulter event in April.
“We want Ben Shapiro to come to Berkeley,” UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof told CBS 5.
Neither I nor YAF have heard from Berkeley, nor have College Republicans. Let's hope Berkeley keeps their word. https://t.co/hcS7sK72zI— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) July 20, 2017
Shapiro and the Berkeley Republican groups' attorney Harmeet Dhillon claim they still haven’t heard from UC Berkeley Student Affairs, and found out through media reports. But in a statement to the Daily Californian Mogulof said the BCR did agree to a change in plans for the event that would provide a venue of less than the requested 500 seats. That probably ought to be enough, given Ben Shapiro’s less-than household name status on the conservative blowhard circuit.
The number of seats inside the facility is probably not the major issue here. It’s the potential for mayhem outside the facility that more likely concerns the university, after looting, mayhem, and riots broke out the date of Milo Yiannopoulos’ scheduled speech.
Still, the aspiring young conservatives seem pleased with the arrangement as currently stands, “The Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation are pleased to learn that the university has been able to identify several open venues for Mr. Shapiro’s proposed speaking date after stating to the press that there were no available locations,” Berkeley College Republicans Naweed Tahmaz told the Daily Californian.
According to CBS 5, the matter is prompting Berkeley to require new expectations of student bodies who invite speakers to campus, including eight-week advance notice, publicity materials submitted to campus advisers five weeks in advance, and a potential requirement to meet with campus police to discuss event security.
“Over the years, we have hosted literally dozens of speakers from both conservative and libertarian movements without incident,” UC Berkeley chancellor Carol Christ told the Daily Californian. “The key is for the hosting organization to work collaboratively with the campus through a detailed planning process. I am confident the event will be safely and successfully held.”
Ben Shapiro, I suppose we should note, is the editor of something called the Daily Wire and is a former Breitbart editor who resigned from that publication when then Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski shoved a Breitbart reporter in March 2016.