After much confusion, conservative blowhard with opinions best kept to herself Ann Coulter’s renegade speech at U.C. Berkeley has been cancelled.
Coulter was scheduled to speak at U.C. Berkeley in an appearance that was cancelled last week by the university due to safety concerns; a day after that cancellation, Coulter insisted that she would show her ass up to the campus and give the speech anyway in the name of free speech, safety concerns be damned. The university offered her an alternate date and venue for the planned appearance, but Coulter didn’t want it, insisting that she’d show up on April 27 like she said she would because it’s her way or the high way.
NPR reports that confusion reigns as to why precisely the appearance was cancelled: it was either the university or Coulter herself or a combination of both. Young America Foundation, one of the groups that pulled out, claimed it was doing so because the University failed to provide a safe venue for Coulter to speak. University officials cited safety concerns once again, pointing to the three recent incidents of violence on campus between the alt-right and the far left.
According to the New York Times, the speech is cancelled because the conservative groups on campus that had initially sponsored her appearance have pulled out. “It’s a sad day for free speech,” she told the Times. “Everyone who should believe in free speech fought against it or ran away.”
The real concern, according to Berkeley chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks is student safety. “Sadly and unfortunately, concern for student safety seems to be in short supply in certain quarters,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “This is a university, not a battlefield. We must make every effort to hold events at a time and location that maximizes the chances that First Amendment rights can be successfully exercised and that community members can be protected.” Despite the cancelled appearance, CNN reports that police will have a “highly visible presence” in the event of any protests, even though Coulter isn’t speaking, in anticipation of further violence.
Even so, it looks like she still might get her chance. The Washington Post reports that vibrant and charming alt-right personality Milo Yiannopoulous is planning a week-long free speech event in the fall that will include rallies in Sproul Plaza and the creation of a free speech award in the name of Mario Savio, the student leader of the Free Speech Movement of the 1964-65 academic year on campus, a move that Savio’s son, David called “some kind of sick joke.” Funny, as that’s exactly how I’d describe both Yiannopoulous and Coulter.