Conservatives were highly amused by a Los Angeles Times headline that suggested the University of California-Berkeley was "bracing" for Ben Shapiro's upcoming appearance.
First there was Hurricane Harvey, then Irma, and now Ben.
Berkeley hunkers down and seeks safe shelter from approaching one-in 100-years storm of diversity of thought. https://t.co/cao90EWslj— Razor (@hale_razor) September 10, 2017
In what sounds like a perfect script for a "Saturday Night Live" skit, Shapiro's appearance at the school has caused mass panic among faculty and students. Because of his conservative ideology, Berkeley has supposedly been forced to use more resources than normal.
As Provost Paul Alivisatos explained, there will be a “closed perimeter” around the building where Shapiro is scheduled to speak, and an “increased and highly visible police presence.”
The school even felt it necessary to offer counseling sessions for students who may feel triggered by Shapiro's presence.
“We are deeply concerned about the impact some speakers may have on individuals’ sense of safety and belonging,” Alivisatos said in the memo posted on the university’s website. “No one should be made to feel threatened or harassed simply because of who they are or for what they believe.”
Berkeley has had a heck of a year. The school, which once prided itself on free speech, has been the constant scene of controversy. First, we witnessed the violent protests that erupted over former Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos's scheduled speech. More protests were planned for Ann Coulter, before the group that was hosting her withdrew their invitation. Both events were cancelled.
Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ is trying to reverse the unfortunate trend that is stifling different points of view, announcing that this year will be a "Free Speech Year."
"We have to build a deeper and richer shared public understanding," she said.