‘Free Speech Week’ is officially off, UC Berkeley announced Saturday morning.
At the end of August, I posted a memo, to all students of the college, that was written by new UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ.
Apparently, it appears that may have been another feel-good statement to pacify some of the students. The Berkeley Patriot Society had cited the administration as putting so many demands on the group that has made it impossible to actually hold the Free speech week. In addition, they, the administration, has filed police reports against some of the people in the group for putting up posters that contain “hate speech.”
The Berkeley Patriot Society said those posters were just pictures of the guest speakers and the venues.
Read a report from the San Jose Mercury news:
“Representatives of the Berkeley Patriot student organization have informed UC Berkeley’s administration that all of the events scheduled for the coming week have been canceled,” said Cal spokesman Dan Mogulof in an emailed statement. “It is extremely unfortunate that this announcement was made at the last-minute, even as the university was in the process of spending significant sums of money and preparing for substantial disruption of campus life in order to provide the needed security for these events.”
The event, sponsored by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, had been scheduled to start Sunday and was expected to bring a host of right-wing speakers to the famously left-leaning school, which has been battered with claims in recent months that it doesn’t support conservative free speech. The official announcement ends days of speculation and uncertainty around whether the event would take place.
In a Saturday letter to the school, an attorney for Berkeley Patriot, Marguerite Melo, wrote, “On their behalf, you are hereby notified the Berkeley Patriot is canceling all Free Speech Week activities it sponsored.” The letter accused administrators of putting up roadblocks and said the group was “contemplating initiating litigation against the responsible parties and the administration for violation of our clients’ civil rights.”
But in a separate email chain obtained by this news organization, Lucian Wintrich, one of the supposed speakers, told Mogulof the event had been a set-up from the start. “It was known that they didn’t intend to actually go through with it last week, and completely decided on Wednesday,” Wintrich wrote in an email around 10 a.m. Saturday morning.
“Wait, whoah, hold on a second,” wrote a clearly surprised Mogulof. “What, exactly, are you saying? What were you told by MILO Inc? Was it a set-up from the get-go?” “Yes,” came Wintrich’s one-word response. Wintrich did not immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment.
But representatives for Yiannopoulos insisted the event would move forward without the student group. “The Berkeley Patriot may have pulled out of the event, but Milo and his other speakers have not. More details will be released at a Facebook Live press conference that will be streamed shortly,” spokeswoman Mona Salama wrote in an email around 11:15 am Saturday.
In the days leading up to the supposed start, students and faculty said they were fed up with the time and public resources being spent on accommodating a man who has made a career of trolling people online and spewing racist and sexist vitriol.
I personally am concerned about this issue of not letting speakers of all views talk to the students to broaden their horizons, but I do not know enough about the situation to be sure.
Anyone want to enlighten me?