Friday, April 21, 2017

UC Berkeley Bungles Free Speech Again

Ann Coulter on Free Speech

Just over a half century ago, the University of California Berkeley led the Free Speech Movement, which inspired many of the political and cultural changes that started in the 1960s.  Free Speech meant having tolerance for differing opinions and uncomfortable speech.

Today, Berkeley finds itself at the center of the AntiFa movement.  While academics, anarchists and progressive foot soldiers mou-mou the memes about free speech, their actions indicate ideological intolerance and tyranny. In February 2017, black clothed street anarchists rioted around the Berkeley campus to stop Alt-Right polemicist Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking.  

Progressives have also bragged about stopping "Radical Son" turned neoconservative David Horowitz from speaking because of burdensome security concerns and added costs to sponsors and limited the crowd.

Three groups invited Ann Coulter to speak at Berkeley on April 27, 2017.  The University Administration made all sorts of nigglesome demands, such as requiring expensive bonds for security, limiting the talk to students and even demanding that the event occur during the day.  As she was determined not to be the one to cancel, Coulter agreed to all of these "ridiculous"  demands, with the request that any rioting students be expelled.  Still Cal Berkeley Administrative offices sought to cancel the event.

Unlike Yiannopoulos and Horowitz, Ann Coulter is both an established agitating author who can make the television circuit.  So instead of just accepting Berkeley cancelling her speaking event, Coulter took to television to ridicule and challenge the imperial leftist Berkeley chancellor, vowing to go to campus anyways to speak.

After just one day of bad press, Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks backtracked,  In announcing that Coulter's speech could be rescheduled to May 2nd, Dirks wrapped himself around the rhetoric of the free speech movement, but did not specify the secure venue where the event would occur.   

This P.R. recovery move by the Berkeley Chancellor was too clever by half. In seeking to staunch the unflattering image, the date was moved to when there would be no classes held.  Moreover, because of the last minute switcheroo, additional expenses would be incurred.  In addition, Dirks did not check with the inconvenienced speaker.  For her part, Coulter claims that she is unavailable May 2nd and is going to appear anyways on April 27th. 

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks 
UC Berkeley Chancellor Dirks was slated to resign in August, 2016 because of widespread criticism from the faculty for the way he handled a sexual misconduct claim and budgetary deficits, yet he still remained.  After besmirching Berkeley's reputation for being the bastion of the Free Speech Movement, one wonders why he still has a job. Furthermore, inquiring minds are interest on University of California Chancellor Janet Napolitano's perspective.

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