After having to placate the loud voices on the right that have been trying to characterize liberal universities as places that are now hostile to speech that is not liberal and politically correct, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ is now coming out with some harsher words for Milo Yiannopoulos and his ostensibly planned Free Speech Week that likely was never anything more than, as she says, "a fiction" that was part of "some political theater that exists outside of [the campus]." The Daily Californian reports on Christ's comments, which were made during a Wednesday evening meeting of the ASUC Senate.
"The event was designed to be a provocation to try and get us to cancel the event and then to get the news story that they wanted," Christ said. She also pointed to some chalk graffiti in Sproul Plaza that targeted undocumented students in the days leading up to Yiannopoulos's event, calling this a provocation that was part of the plan to get the university to cancel. "I have no tolerance and this campus has no tolerance for that kind of bigoted, hateful, oppressive behavior," she said, per the Daily Cal.
Christ earlier spoke out publicly to defend the university and insist that it would allow Free Speech Week to go on as well as the earlier Ben Shapiro event, saying "Particularly now, it is critical that the Berkeley community come together once again to protect this right. It is who we are.”
But now she seems regretful that so much fuss, and money, was expended in the name of a person like Yiannopoulos in particular. Though she says that all the expense for security was necessary because of the potential for violence. "There are eruptions of horrible, horrible violence in lots of places,” Christ said, according to the Daily Cal. "Just think about the horrible, horrible carnage in Las Vegas. We’re living in a very violent and frightening time."
Student senators at the meeting criticized the choice to let the event go forward even though it didn't really go forward because a) the student group behind it canceled at the last minute, b) venues were not booked in time, likely because the event was never intended to happen, and c) Milo simply showed up for 15 minutes, sang the national anthem, and signed autographs. They suggested the university ought to be willing to go to court over events like this, at least in the name of safety.