Sponsor Pulls Plug on Ann Coulter’s Scheduled Visit to UC Berkeley - NBC Bay Area
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Sponsor Pulls Plug on Ann Coulter’s Scheduled Visit to UC Berkeley

Lawyer says just because Young America's Foundation pulled out of event doesn't mean Coulter won't show up Thursday

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    NEWSLETTERS

    After filing a lawsuit against the University of California, Berkeley, Ann Coulter continues to insist that she will speak on campus as initially planned on Thursday, although the group that sponsored her scheduled speech has pulled the plug, and university officials are pushing to reschedule her visit for May 2. Cheryl Hurd reports. (Published Tuesday, April 25, 2017)

    After filing a lawsuit against the University of California, Berkeley, Ann Coulter continues to insist that she will speak on campus as initially planned on Thursday, although the group that sponsored her scheduled speech has pulled the plug, and university officials are pushing to reschedule her visit for May 2.

    On Tuesday, the Young America's Foundation, which had sponsored Coulter's appearance as part of its nationwide lecture series, announced it was backing out of the event.

    "As of 4 p.m. today, Young America’s Foundation will not be moving forward with an event at Berkeley on April 27 due to the lack of assurances for protections from foreseeable violence from unrestrained leftist agitators," the YAF said in a statement. "Berkeley should be ashamed for creating this hostile atmosphere."

    However, Harmeet Dhillon, attorney for the Berkeley College Republicans, said Coulter could still show up Thursday, regardless of the Young America's Foundation's move.

    Coulter later Tuesday said in tweet that she still expects UC Berkeley to provide her a space to speak.

    "I haven't spoken to any Berkeley students about when and where I will speak because I'm still waiting for Berkeley to tell me," she tweeted. "... Still expect Berkeley to provide a room."

    Earlier Tuesday, UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said in an email, "All we know is that Coulter is saying she will come to campus and appear in Sproul Plaza in the early afternoon. We have nothing beyond that at the moment."

    There is no word yet from the Coulter camp or the Berkeley College Republicans, the student group that invited the conservative provocateur to speak about illegal immigration. 

    Amid the maelstrom swirling, the Berkeley Police Department on Tuesday held a public safety forum to hear about the community's concerns.

    Police said that the gathering was "regularly scheduled," and it remains unclear whether the issue that is Coulter will be addressed. 

    Students on Tuesday weighed in on the bedlam.

    "I mean, I’m not a Republican, and I don’t like Ann Coulter, and I wasn’t a big fan of Yiannopolis, but I still think they should be allowed to speak here, and I don’t think we should resort to violence in any sort of way," Amanda Chevalier said.

    Matt Flynn echoed a similar sentiment.

    "I find her views repulsive, but that doesn’t mean she can’t speak," he said. "It just means no one has to listen."

    A legal team representing the Berkeley College Republicans and the conservative provocateur on Monday slapped the university with a lawsuit claiming officials violated free speech rights by calling off Coulter's speaking visit. 

    "This case arises from efforts by one of California’s leading public universities, UC Berkeley — once known as the 'birthplace of the Free Speech Movement' — to restrict and stifle the speech of conservative students whose voices fall beyond the campus political orthodoxy," the lawsuit read in part.

    The student group scheduled Coulter's visit for April 27, but the university last week called off the event citing security reasons.

    One day later, the university changed course and allowed the event to go on, but penciled in her visit for May 2 instead of this upcoming Thursday. That decision to reschedule her speech, prompted the filing of the lawsuit

    The University of California system, UC Berkeley Police Department and numerous university officials were named in the lawsuit.

    UC Berkeley provided the following statement Monday in response to the lawsuit:

    The University of California welcomes speakers of all political viewpoints and is committed to providing a forum to enable Ann Coulter to speak on the Berkeley campus. The allegation contained in the complaint filed by Young America’s Foundation that Ms. Coulter is being prohibited from speaking because of her conservative views is untrue. As the complaint itself notes, Young America’s Foundation has sponsored many other speaking events at UC Berkeley in past years, including that of conservative political commentator and author Ben Shapiro, and the organization’s efforts have led many notable conservatives to share their viewpoints with students and the public on campus. UC Berkeley has been working to accommodate a mutually agreeable time for Ms. Coulter’s visit – which has not yet been scheduled – and remains committed to doing so. The campus seeks to ensure that all members of the Berkeley and larger community – including Ms. Coulter herself – remain safe during such an event.

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