UC Berkeley reverses course, re-books canceled Ann Coulter speech


Reuters

UPDATE 1-UC Berkeley reverses course, re-books canceled Ann Coulter speech


(Adds university agreeing to hold event on new date)
    April 20 (Reuters) - The University of California, Berkeley,
which canceled a speech by Ann Coulter over what the school said
were security concerns, on Thursday rescheduled the event after
the conservative commentator said she would show up and speak
anyway.
    U.C. Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said the university
had canceled the April 27 event on Wednesday based on specific
intelligence of threats "that could pose a grave danger to the
speaker."
    Dirks said in a statement that 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.
    In apparent response to the decision, Coulter tweeted
"Berkeley just imposed an all-new arbitrary & harassing
condition on my exercise of a constitutional right."
    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."
    In recent months, 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 cancelling 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.
    Coulter in a Fox News interview later on Wednesday said she
would still speak.
    "What are they going to do? Arrest me?" Coulter said. "I'm
definitely giving the speech."
    Following the violence surrounding Yiannopoulos' planned
lecture and U.C. Berkeley's decision to cancel it, President
Donald Trump, who had taken office just days earlier, threatened
to cut off funding to the school. [nL1N1FN042]
    On Tuesday, police arrested at least three people protesting
an appearance at Alabama'sAuburn University by Richard Spencer,
a prominent white nationalist.

 (Reporting by Jonathan Allen and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles;
Editing by Frances Kerry and Andrew Hay)
 ((jonathan.allen@reuters.com; +1-646-223-5371; Reuters
Messaging: jonathan.allen.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: CALIFORNIA COULTER/ (UPDATE 1, PIX)



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