Ann Coulter's Berkeley Speech: Lawyers Blast College for Rescheduling During Finals
The university reversed its decision to allow the conservative pundit to speak on campus, but the scheduled time, during finals week, is not acceptable, say attorneys for the talk's sponsors.
Administrators at UC Berkeley may have reversed their decision to allow Ann Coulter to speak on campus, but the groups that invited the conservative, best-selling author made it clear through their attorney late Thursday that a new date and place will not suffice.
Coulter had been booked for April 27, but Berkeley administrators abruptly canceled her engagement on Wednesday, citing security concerns. After massive publicity, they reversed course but reset the event for May 2, when students will be taking finals and therefore will be less likely to attend, according to lawyers representing the Berkeley College Republicans and Young America's Foundation.
Associate vice chancellor Nils Gilman "grudgingly offered to allow the event from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2 — during 'dead-week,' when students are not even in class," wrote Harmeet Dhillon of Dhillon Law Group in a letter to Berkeley interim vice chancellor of student affairs Stephen Sutton.
Berkeley administrators originally said the university canceled on Coulter due to the possibility of riots, citing the rioting that caused them to cancel a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos a few months earlier. But Dhillon noted that the university has a habit of shutting out Conservative speakers, including David Horowitz earlier this month.
"Berkeley impermissibly has allowed a 'heckler's veto' to suppress the free-speech rights of speakers properly invited by recognized student groups," wrote Dhillon. "It is ironic that UC Berkeley, known to many Americans as the birthplace of the free-speech movement, is now leading the vanguard to silence Conservative speech on campus."
Coulter, meanwhile, has vowed to speak on April 27 as originally planned, whether administrators revoke her invitation or not.
"They can't stop me. I'm an American. I have constitutional rights," Coulter told The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday.
And on Thursday, after administrators reversed their decision but changed the date and venue, Coulter tweeted: "GOOD NEWS FOR CA TAXPAYER! You won't be requird to pay $$$$ to compensate me & my crew for rebooked airfare & hotels. I'm speaking on 4/27."
Read the full letter below.