The irony was almost overwhelming when UC Berkeley, once considered the home of the free speech movement in America, barred conservative firebrand Ann Coulter from speaking at its campus due to “security threats.” Undeterred, Coulter plans to travel to the social justice haven and speak anyway, essentially calling Berkeley’s bluff.
“I am giving the speech,” Coulter told Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson on Wednesday night. “I don’t know — what are they going to do, arrest me?”
According to Coulter, UC Berkeley administrators turned to sneaky tactics in order to coerce Coulter into cancelling the speaking engagement of her own accord.
They “kept piling on requirements, ruses,” Coulter explained. “‘You can’t speak in the evening, you have to speak in the daytime when kids are in classes. We’re not sure which room you’re gonna use, we won’t tell you until the last minute. You have to exclude everyone except students.”
Coulter agreed to the university’s arcane set of requirements but countered with two of her own: that the UC chancellor ask Oakland police to actually enforce the law and arrest rioters who attempt to shut down conservative speakers, and the UC Berkeley agrees to expel any students who engage in violence or heckling as a measure to silence visiting speakers.
Apparently, that was too much to ask.
In an email, Berkeley Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell told the sponsor of Coulter’s speech, conservative student group Young America’s Foundation, that “a safe and suitable venue” simply did not exist.
“Given currently active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully – or that the safety of Ms. Coulter, the event sponsors, audience, and bystanders could be adequately protected – at any of the campus venues,” Greenwell wrote.
In the past, President Donald Trump has threatened to defund UC Berkeley for its stark opposition to the First Amendment.
“If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?” he tweeted in February.