BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — There’s another challenge to free speech on the Cal campus.
College Republicans say they were forced to cancel a conservative speaker because of too many administration roadblocks.
But some are concerned about the cancellation.
The university’s efforts to prevent an encore of the violent protests that forced them to cancel a talk by conservative activist Milo Yiannopoulos, have, according to campus Republicans, stifled free speech and made it increasingly difficult to bring conservative thinkers to Cal.
Berkeley Campus Republicans spokesperson Troy Worden said, “There is such a thing as the heckler’s veto. Basically, if they’re loud enough and violent enough, then they succeed in shutting down your event.”
Campus Republicans canceled an upcoming appearance by David Horowitz after university police told them that to insure they could provide adequate security…the event would have to be held in the middle of the day…and outside the center of campus.
UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof said, “We’re sorry they had to cancel it. It has nothing to do whatsoever with the speaker’s perspective and everything to do with what law enforcement professionals believed needed to be done to provide a safe and secure event.”
Students say they’re troubled by the violence, by the willingness to drown out opinions with which you don’t agree.
Berkeley student Rachel Feher said, “I think of this campus as emblematic of what free speech should be — and what it was in the 1960s. And it saddening for me as a student to see that those same values are not as well encompassed today.”
The university says it’s committed to providing a safe and secure environment for guest speakers, but can’t guarantee they’ll be given a prime time slot in the heart of campus.
But campus Republicans say they shouldn’t have to choose between security and free speech.
Worden said, “The policy they have for dealing with these outside groups really does tacitly approve of and encourage the violence we have seen.”
The decision to cancel Horowitz’s speech was, in part, strategic. Campus Republicans say they’re focusing their efforts on an appearance by Ann Coulter, which is scheduled for April 27th.