BERKELEY (KPIX 5) — There were hundreds of protesters and almost as many police officers to make sure everyone stayed peaceful as conservative writer Ben Shapiro spoke at UC Berkeley on Thursday night.
Only nine people were arrested on charges ranging from spitting on an officer to assault. On Friday, UC Berkeley officials were calling the effort to prevent violence and property destruction a success.
“There’s a sense of relief,” said UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof.
The final total isn’t in yet, but security likely cost about $600,000.
It was the largest show of force seen from the school yet in an event like this. UC officials it was necessary and was the keystone in keeping last night’s event contained.
Tensions are now rising around an announced ‘Free Speech Week’ on campus that the school isn’t sure will even happen.
The event is being organized by the student group ‘The Berkeley Patriot’ and controversial conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos — whose presence on campus in February led to violent protests.
“One of the reasons that the event last night went well was because the College Republicans did five key things,” explained Mogulof. “They signed a contract with the venue; they paid the venue rental fees; they secured insurance; they provided the university police department with the information it needed to arrange for security; and they had a signed contract with their speaker. The Berkeley Patriot – that’s hosting Free Speech Week — has not done a single one of those things yet, and time is just about up.”
So far, only three of the event speakers have reached out to campus police. There is no contract in place for an indoor venue, though there are reportedly some reservations made at outdoor venues.
While Cal says they’ll gladly provide needed security, they won’t do it without a partnership.
“The University cannot and will not spend hundreds of thousands of dollars based on a press release that issued by an external commercial enterprise,” said Mogulof. “We haven’t heard from our students.”
The Berkeley Patriot are still making an effort, but it might not be until Monday that officials announce whether or not the Free Speech Week events will still be held.