Officials at the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) reversed their decision Thursday to cancel conservative writer Ann Coulter’s planned speech over “security concerns.” After the cancellation was initially announced Wednesday, Coulter vowed to show up anyway.
Berkeley released a statement this afternoon citing Coulter’s intent to move ahead with her speech anyway as part of their decision to provide her with a venue on a later date.
“Ms. Coulter’s announcement that she intends to come to this campus on April 27 without regard for the fact that we don’t have a protectable venue available on that date is of grave concern,” UCB Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said, “Our police department has made it clear that they have very specific intelligence regarding threats that could pose a grave danger to the speaker, attendees and those who may wish to lawfully protest the event. At the same time, we respect and support Ms. Coulter’s own First Amendment rights.”
Given the Chancellor’s concerns “regarding Ms. Coulter’s stated intentions,” the Chancellor asked “staff to look beyond the usual venues we use for large public gatherings to see if there might be a protectable space for this event that would be available during the compressed, and extremely busy, window of time between now and the end of the academic year.”
“Fortunately, that expanded search identified an appropriate, protectable venue that is available on the afternoon of May 2,” he concluded. “While it is not one we have used for these sorts of events in the past, it can both accommodate a substantial audience and meet the security criteria established by our police department. Earlier today, we informed both the Berkeley College Republicans and the Coulter organization of this development, and we look forward to working with them. We will disclose the exact location of the venue once we have finalized details with both organizations.”
Coulter told The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday that she had agreed to a list of demands from the Berkeley administrators prior to her engagement.
"I've acceded to all their silly demands, which they thought would end it,” she said. “When I said, 'yes, yes, yes,' they canceled anyway. No more clear-cut proof that taxpayer-supported universities will not allow conservative speakers."
UPDATE: Coulter responded with some tweets Thursday pointing out that there are no classes at Berkeley on May 2nd and warning, "Do not fall for b.s Berkeley press release claiming they “rescinded” cancelation. They added NEW, more burdensome condition on my const rts."
In addition to facts: We've already spent $ for 4/27 Berkeley spc & I can't do May 2...THERE ARE NO CLASSES AT BERKELEY THE WEEK OF MAY 2!!!— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 21, 2017
Do not fall for b.s Berkeley press release claiming they “rescinded” cancelation. They added NEW, more burdensome condition on my const rts. https://t.co/bPMuVUEEMY— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 21, 2017