BERKELEY (CBS SF) — A scheduled appearance by conservative commentator and writer Ann Coulter at the University of California later this month has been canceled because of concerns about safety and security at the event.
But Coulter tweeted on Wednesday that the speech would go on at another Berkeley venue.
“Yes, it was officially banned,” Coulter told the Hollywood Reporter. “But they can’t stop me. I’m an American. I have Constitutional rights.”
Word of the cancellation by UC Berkeley officials of the April 27th event comes just days after a violent encounter between far-right supporters and far-left protesters at a pro-Donald Trump rally in Berkeley in which multiple people were injured and arrested.
In a letter to the Berkeley College Republicans, UC Berkeley Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton said the university will work with the group to find an alternative time and date for the polemical Coulter to speak at Berkeley.
The letter said the UC Police Department determined that because of “currently active security threats,” it was not possible to assure the event could be held successfully of that the safety of Coulter, sponsors, and attendees could be adequately protected at any of the campus venues available.
Berkeley College Republicans spokesman Naweed Tahmas said he hopes the university will reconsider. “I don’t think Berkeley wants to be known as the campus that’s too afraid to take a stand and support freedom of speech,” said Tahmas.
“You can’t exercise your First Amendment rights if the police can’t provide the sort of security to allow the event to happen,” said UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof.
In February, an appearance at Cal by former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopolous was canceled after protesters rioted outside the scheduled event. Several people were injured during the disturbances.
Last week, an appearance by conservative writer David Horowitz was also canceled after university police told the campus Republican group that to insure adequate security, the event would have to be held in the middle of the day and outside the center of campus.
The group says such cancellations stifle free speech and made it increasingly difficult to bring conservative thinkers to the Cal campus. Berkeley College Republicans say they don’t feel safe at UC Berkeley. “I’ve had flyers around campus posted with my face on it calling me a fascist,” said Tahmas. “I’ve had my information posted online. I’ve been punched in the face. I’ve been spit on.”
It is unclear where Ann Coulter might speak if she does show up on the 27th as planned. Republican students say they are hoping to keep the event in Berkeley.