Ann Coulter rejects Berkeley's bid to reschedule speech


Reuters

UPDATE 3-Ann Coulter rejects Berkeley's bid to reschedule speech


(Adds details on letter from lawyer, paragraph 8)
    By Dan Whitcomb and Mark HosenballApril 20 (Reuters) - Conservative commentator Ann Coulter
said on Thursday she could not speak at the University of
California, Berkeley, on a new date chosen by the university and
intended to show up for the original event, which was canceled
over security fears.
    Officials at U.C. Berkeley, who abruptly canceled her
planned April 27 speech on Wednesday citing security concerns,
reversed course on Thursday and rescheduled the event for May 2.
    U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said in a statement
the university had canceled the April 27 event based on specific
threats "that could pose a grave danger to the speaker."
    Dirks said the university, in its commitment to free speech,
had found an "appropriate, protectable" venue where Coulter's
speech could go forward in a safe environment on May 2.
    However Coulter, who had vowed after the cancellation to
show up for her April 27 speech anyway, said she and her
security detail could not arrange to be on campus on May 2 " ...
and there will be no students there that week!"
    "So I'm planning on speaking on the 27th as scheduled. Maybe
they will arrest me," she said in an email to Reuters.
    The university's academic calendar shows that May 1-5 is a
"reading/ review/ recitation period" before final exams.
    Harmeet Dhillon, an attorney representing two groups
organizing Coulter's speech, also sent a letter to the
university on Thursday demanding she be allowed to speak on the
original date.
    One of the country's best-known conservative pundits,
Coulter had been scheduled to speak to a college Republican club
about her 2015 book, "¡Adios, America!: The Left's Plan to Turn
Our Country Into a Third World Hellhole."
    Berkeley is known as the birthplace of the student-led Free
Speech Movement of the 1960s. As with other U.S. colleges and
universities, it has tried to find a balance between ideological
openness, student safety and student opposition to what some
describe as "hate speech."
    Several conservative speakers have been met with disruptive,
sometimes violent, protests when invited to speak at U.S.
universities with liberal-leaning student bodies in recent
months.
    In canceling Coulter's speech on Wednesday, UC Berkeley
cited violence that broke out at the campus in February, hours
before right-wing media personality Milo Yiannopoulos was
scheduled to speak there.
    U.S. President Donald Trump, who had taken office just days
earlier, threatened to cut off funding to the school after the
violence surrounding Yiannopoulos' planned lecture and U.C.
Berkeley's decision to cancel it. [nL1N1FN042]

 (Reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York, Mark Hosenball in
Washington, D.C., and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by
Frances Kerry, Andrew Hay and Paul Tait)
 ((jonathan.allen@reuters.com; +1-646-223-5371; Reuters
Messaging: jonathan.allen.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: CALIFORNIA COULTER/ (UPDATE 3, PIX)



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