Berkeley Reverses Decision On Coulter Speech But Coulter Rejects New Conditions [Updated]

The officials at the University of California at Berkeley have had a change of heart and agreed to the planned speech by conservative Ann Coulter.  The decision to cancel the speech was criticized on this blog and in other forums as the latest example of mob rule on our campuses.  The decision is a welcomed change.  However, Coulter has objected to the scheduling change in the speech when no students are likely to be on campus. Coulter has rejected the change and plans to move forward as previously set for the event.

The speech will occur on May 2 and will be  held at an “appropriate, protectable venue.” However, that would fall during “Reading/Review/Recitation Week” after the end of formal classes but before final exams. It is well known that that period is a dead zone for events since few students can attend. Coulter also says that she is not available on May 2nd.

The result is that there is again a risk of a confrontation over trespass with school security. As previously noted, I would have kept the original date and, with any rescheduling, the onus is on the school make the aggrieved parties whole. Those would be Coulter and these Berkeley students who wanted to hear her.

 Berkeley should now make its stand on free speech complete in affirming the right of these Republican students to hear Coulter.  Protesters should be allowed to be heard but not to block access or interpret the speech.  There is a clear line between protesting and obstructing that can and should be maintained.

140 thoughts on “Berkeley Reverses Decision On Coulter Speech But Coulter Rejects New Conditions [Updated]”

  1. I am quite certain that inciting to riot is a speech crime in every state.

    1. Since neither Coulter nor MY do that, you’re point is an irrelevant red herring.

    2. The point is that the states can prohibit certain speech acts. Constitution does not prohibit that.

      Nothing directly to do with Coulter but only the various stripes of thugs she unfortunately attracts.

    1. It has mostly been driven from the public forums

      In your fantasies only.

  2. This is an excelllent analysis of USGinc.’s idea of “free speech”

    “Finally, Pompeo justifies his attack on the First Amendment by pushing a false “us versus them mentality.” He states:

    Third, we have to recognize that we can no longer allow Assange and his colleagues the latitude to use free speech values against us.”

      1. Bob, I thought that piece was very well observed and argued. I’m glad you liked it also. It deserves a wide hearing.

        I also want to share this very short piece from NZ. You would never hear the CIA described this way or have our military “goals” challenged in the MSM.

        Personally, as far as divide and conquer goes, I see the dead hand of the oligarchy behind the Berkley BS. We do know that protesters are paid to get violent. In addition, I’m certain some of the right wing “victims” are paid as well. I wish we had investigative journalism because this could be researched and exposed. I believe we would find the same group paying both sides of the violence. (This is not to discount sincere people who have actual differences of opinion.)

        There is also the govt.’s deliberate attempts at dumbing down of our population by the govt. as was shown in the Podesta e-mails (citizens as dumbed down and formerly compliant, now just dumbed down). No wonder the govt. hates wikileaks. When people get that dumbed down, they tend to follow the crowd. Thus agreement that one is too fragile to hear an opposing viewpoint is an idea which is manufactured and supported by the oligarchy. There are much more important issues facing us as a people than Ann Coulter. Those issues go ignored. I don’t think this is an accident.

        “…it reveals the Gulfstream Aerospace G-IV is in the hands of one of the world’s most powerful and ruthless spy agencies….” (I thought they were a sterling example of rectitude, a shining beacon to the rest of the world and here is a NZ paper saying the CIA is “ruthless”?)

        1. I saw this article when I was on the WikiLeaks buying my t-shirt. Secret meeting in New Zealand. Comey, Pompeo, et al.

    1. Jill, I’ll post this here instead of below your other comment since I am referring to this article.

      This quote from the article sums it up well in my view:

      “The U.S. empire doesn’t work for the people, it works for a small handful of elitists and insiders who have completely gamed a corrupt system for their advantage. The America people are starting to figure this out, partly due to the journalism of Wikileaks, which is why the deep state hates Assange so passionately.

      The American empire is becoming increasingly insecure and desperate, which also makes it increasingly dangerous. Empires don’t reform, and as we can see from Trump’s first 100 days, we certainly aren’t going to see a reversal of course from him.”

      I have always supported WikiLeaks. And I voted for Trump. But this sudden targeting of Assange raises a lot of questions. The article calls Pompeo’s remarks “deranged, incoherent, and unconstitutional”….but If you look at CIA director Pompeo’s background, it’s hard to think of him as deranged, incoherent or unconstitutional by any stretch. Obama’s CIA director? Sure. But not Pompeo. So what is going on here?

      This, I think, is a key point from the article:

      “The CIA is particularly enraged at Assange as a result of last month’s initial Vault 7 release.”

      Something happened that the CIA and DOJ are targeting Assange now. Trump, who previously praised WikiLeaks has said he is ‘okay with it.” Anyone have any ideas? Was it the release of Vault 7 that crossed some line? There’s a whole lot more going on here.

      1. Pompeo has had a target on Assange’s back since 2011. Why did Trump chose him as CIA director? Because he is hard liner.

        1. Well then I am mistaken in seeing this as a sudden targeting. Any thoughts on what happens next?

          1. No, I don’t think the decision has been made from what I have read. Stay tuned. Sessions is involved, too.

          2. Bob,

            The CIA is acting as our parallel govt. They have a separate and more equal power than the elected govt. Here is part of what I mean:

            Assange pointed out the Mike was saying he could define who would have free speech and who he would shut up (Assange). The CIA has many methods to accomplish this goal. It’s difficult to say which action they may take to shut up Assange.

            As to our elected govt. this is likely the opening salvo of curbing press freedom generally, across the board.

            1. This is why I will continue to support WikiLeaks…

              Assange Statement on the US Election (excerpts w link below)
              8 November 2016

              “The US public defends free speech more passionately, but the First Amendment only truly lives through its repeated exercise. The First Amendment explicitly prevents the executive from attempting to restrict anyone’s ability to speak and publish freely. The First Amendment does not privilege old media, with its corporate advertisers and dependencies on incumbent power factions, over WikiLeaks’ model of scientific journalism or an individual’s decision to inform their friends on social media. The First Amendment unapologetically nurtures the democratization of knowledge. With the Internet, it has reached its full potential.”
              “We publish material given to us if it is of political, diplomatic, historical or ethical importance and which has not been published elsewhere. When we have material that fulfills this criteria, we publish.”
              “Yet if the press obeys considerations above informing the public, we are no longer talking about a free press, and we are no longer talking about an informed public.”
              “Wikileaks remains committed to publishing information that informs the public, even if many, especially those in power, would prefer not to see it.”

            2. Good article Jill. As we listen to the media and the Trump admin spin the dropping of the MOAB bomb on ISIS as evidence in support of Trump’s promise to “bomb the sh*t out of ISIS,” I thought this was interesting perspective from reporter Nicky Hager :

              “The first thing to note is that the dropping of a large bomb in Afghanistan and publicizing it to the world with its malignant title “the mother of all bombs” – that bomb was not aimed at ISIS fighters. It was aimed at the new administration in Washington. It was bringing them into line. It was conditioning them – to turn them from being anti-interventionists into being routine overseers of a huge military which goes its own way to a large extent. We shouldn’t misunderstand what went on there; that was a political gesture in my strong opinion.”

          3. Since the left leaning newly elected head of Ecuador has promised Assange a safe haven, it complicates things.

      2. “Weeks out from his shocking election win, Trump waved around a sheet of paper at a rally, boasting “this just came out, WikiLeaks! … I love WikiLeaks.” In 2010, however, Trump called Assange out for treason.

        “I think it’s disgraceful, I think there should be like death penalty or something,” Trump said.” Now that Trump has no use for Assange he is returning to his original view of him.

        1. This is the argument CIA director is making – that Assange has no First Amendment freedoms as a non US citizen holed up in London:

          “It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is: A non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” said Pompeo. “Julian Assange has no First Amendment freedoms. He’s sitting in an Embassy in London. He’s not a US citizen.”

  3. “Meanwhile, Johnny Benitez of Orange County, in Southern California, said he was organizing a group of conservatives to show up in Berkeley. He was part of a group that showed up last weekend for demonstrations that ultimately led to 20 arrests.

    “I don’t really have a connection to Berkeley,” said Mr. Benitez, 28. “The reason we go there is to support people who feel that their First Amendment rights are being infringed, our fellow conservatives in the city of Berkeley. The people I’m mostly organizing are coming from six hours away.”

    Mr. Benitez said that his group would arrive unarmed, as they did last weekend. But in recent confrontations, demonstrators have turned rocks, fireworks and police barricades into weapons — even using a bike lock to wallop someone in the head.”
    ~NYT, 4/21/2017

    Looks like the battle lines are being drawn. Good ol’ fashioned rumble. Where do i sign up, Johnny?

    1. No sign up needed. Just run toward the sound of billy clubs. Mike Appleton should be w/ you, but his free speech absolutism turns out to be conditional. It’s tough for free speech liberals nowadays.

      1. The only thing memorable I recall Nixon saying is that “too much education strengthens the mind but weakens the backbone.” Well, even a blind pig ….

    2. The governor might have to call out his militia, i.e., the California National Guard.

      1. Guv Moonbeam would never call out the Guard to protect conservatives. Come on!

        1. Nick – I cannot understand why Governor Moonbeam does not understand that appellation is a pejorative. He keeps saying it means people like him.

  4. Easily resolved by rescheduling into a protectable venue next fall semester. Nothing she has to say is of burning moment.

    1. “Or the semester after that or whenever,” said Napoleon. (mespo)

      “Like all of Napoleon’s speeches, it was short and to the point. He too, he said, was happy that the period of misunderstanding was at an end. For a long time there had been rumours-circulated, he had reason to think, by some malignant enemy-that there was something subversive and even revolutionary in the outlook of himself and his colleagues. They had been credited with attempting to stir up rebellion among the animals on neighbouring farms. Nothing could be further from the truth! Their sole wish, now and in the past, was to live at peace and in normal business relations with their neighbours. This farm which he had the honour to control, he added, was a co-operative enterprise. The title-deeds, which were in his own possession, were owned by the pigs jointly. ”
      ~ George Orwell

  5. What do the state laws say regarding this situation?

    I suspect that the laws frown upon riots and inciting to riot. While congress can’t pass laws regarding speech, the several states can and have.

    1. That’s irrelevant. The Antifa cretins are engaging in riot, not Coulter.

    2. “While congress can’t pass laws regarding speech, the several states can and have.”


      And they’re routinely struck down. You might want to retake that Con Law class. Work on the 14th Amendment and spend some time on the due process/equal protection clauses thereof.

    3. In what universe? There are only nine categorical exceptions to the First Amendment that have been recognized by the Supreme Court. This is to benson.

  6. Looky here what Milo has planned….Grand Comeback Tour and CINCO de MILO…plus Berkeley Free Speech WEEK….oh my….(my personal favorite is where he says if UCB does not assist us with Free Speech Week, we will extend it to an entire MONTH! HA!)


    21/4/2017 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE In light of recent controversies, I am planning a huge multi-day event called MILO’S FREE SPEECH WEEK in Berkeley later this year. We will hold talks and rallies and throw massive parties, all in the name of free expression and the First Amendment. All will be welcome, regardless of political affiliation. Free speech has never been more under threat in America — especially at the supposed home of the free speech movement. I will bring activists, writers, artists, politicians, YouTubers, veterans and drag queens from across the ideological spectrum to lecture, march, and party. MILO’S FREE SPEECH WEEK will include events on the UC Berkeley campus. We will stand united against the “progressive” Left. We will loudly reject the venomous hectoring and moral hypocrisy of social justice warriors. Free speech belongs to everyone — not just the spoilt brats of the academy. During MILO’S FREE SPEECH WEEK, we will give out a new free speech prize — the Mario Savio Award — to the person we believe has done most to protect free expression at UC Berkeley and its surrounding area. Each day will be dedicated to a different enemy of free speech, including feminism, Black Lives Matter and Islam. If UC Berkeley does not actively assist us in the planning and execution of this event, we will extend festivities to an entire month. We will establish a tent city on Sproul Plaza protesting the university’s total dereliction of its duty and encourage students at other universities to follow suit. I intend to return Berkeley to its rightful place as the home of free speech — whether university administrators and violent far-left antifa thugs like it or not. – MILO
    P.S., I will be releasing further details of my grand comeback tour in the coming few weeks, including information about a special CINCO DE MILO event on 5/5.

  7. This is a silly debate. It has zero to do with free speech. The real issue is good judgment in the first place. Speakers like Ann Coulter have absolutely nothing to say to an educated audience. She is a professional hack, a provocateur who makes money off of making headlines with outrageous, extremist statements. There are certainly plenty of similar people on the left that fit that description as well but most of them don’t have the same sort of audience cash cow to milk as right wing extremists do so you don’t hear from them as much. Regardless, those who make their living off of simply offending common courtesy and making extreme, offensive statements shouldn’t be paid to come and speak at universities in any even regardless of where they are on the political spectrum. Coulter is a prime example and frankly, judging from her weird behaviors on television I think she may be mentally ill. Universities and Colleges ought to have enough good judgment in the first instance not to even consider paying people like this to come to their campuses because the truth is they have nothing to offer anyone other than what amounts to pointless shouting and unproductive argument. If such judgment were exercised no “debate” would be required about free speech on campuses because there would be no need. There’s a huge difference between someone with conservative views and thinly veiled, obviously racist views that ought to offend every decent human being. Even then, someone like Coulter only says racist things to continue to grab headlines and publicity for her disgraceful act. That isn’t worth ten cents of any student’s activity fees.

    1. Horuss wrote: “Speakers like Ann Coulter have absolutely nothing to say to an educated audience.”

      This statement is ridiculous and unfortunately only reveals your own bigotry. I attended an Ann Coulter speech at the University of Florida that was packed to capacity with students and was very good. Afterward, she fielded questions from the students and professors and did not back away from any questions. It added more than an hour to the event. She was excellent at listening and responding in an intelligent way. She demonstrated a good understanding of the law and what happens politically behind the scenes.

    2. peakers like Ann Coulter have absolutely nothing to say to an educated audience.

      You’re self-understanding as part of an ‘educated audience’ is an illusion.

    3. This isn’t hard. If you don’t want to hear Coulter speak, then don’t listen to Coulter speak.

      She claims she was invited to speak by two student groups. One is the Berkeley College Republicans. BCR claims on its website to be one of the largest student groups on campus and the largest College Republican organization in the state of California. There is a market for what Coulter has to say. That’s why they hired her.

      The idea that you think you can determine what I, as a free man, can or can not hear is truly more vile, more repugnant, and more repulsive than anything she will say.

      If some perpetually offended fragile creampuffs attend her speech and decide they don’t like it, they are certainly free to leave. Nobody is compelled to listen. That’s liberty. The better idea is to attend, listen quietly, then vigorously challenge her in the Q&A. That’s sorta the essence of the Socratic method of debate. Something that has endured for 2500 years. Something you wannabe petty tyrants want to squash.

      Nobody’s liberty is impugned by her talking on campus. If deranged Democrats, liberals and progressives or intolerant fascists are unable to control themselves upon hearing her words, they need to stay home.

      1. Scott,

        This is really eloquent and true: “The idea that you think you can determine what I, as a free man, can or can not hear is truly more vile, more repugnant, and more repulsive than anything she will say.”

    4. Though I disagree with everything coulter represents, your post combines more breathtaking ignorance in one run-on paragraph than the combination off all previous posts on this matter. Kudos to you. The adage that there is always someone worse off than oneself is again demonstrably true.

  8. Good for Coulter, get right back in their face. That’s the problem with the right no courage to face up to the scum ruining the nation.

  9. So they will allow conservative students to hear their speaker, but only on a day when it is guaranteed that there will be no one in the audience, and when the speaker has a scheduling conflict?

    Are these conservative students being treated the same as the Liberal ones?

    I think not.

    If it’s a public property, would she be trespassing? If they do have Ann Coulter arrested, or if she, or any of the conservative students, are assaulted by the hard Left, then I predict that Berkley will go the way of the University of Missouri. It’s already gained a reputation as being unsafe and hostile to students who have conservative views.

  10. Protesters should be allowed to be heard but not to block access or interpret the speech.

    Did you mean interrupt the speech? Surely anybody who hears the speech has the right to interpret it.

  11. The students who wish to protest [not the ones who are their to provoke and incite violence] should do a silent, peaceful march. No signs, no noise, no engaging with others. Just walking or sitting silently in opposition. If the agent provocateurs then wish to disrupt, it will be easier for the police to spot them. And what a great skill for young people to learn – how to remain still and not act on the provocation by others.

  12. As of today, Coulter has rejected the delay UC Berkeley sought. She is going ahead with April 27, the original invitation to speak. The campus police and city police now have some hard decisions to swallow.
    Are they going to unequivocally defend 1st Amendment rights, or only selectively defend them based on bias towards a liberal political point-of-view? And, how are they going to treat the professional anarchists?

      1. Bob,…
        One critic of inaction/ passivity by the Berkeley police did concede that “Berkeley police do nothing, but they do it with style and grace”.

        1. tnash – the one time I visited Berkeley (town not the campus) as I was driving through town, I say the local SWAT team sneaking down the street and around the corner of a building. Considering Berkeley’s reputation, I decided to drive on

  13. I suspect the local security folks and administrators at the Berkeley campus nixed Coulter’s speech because they didn’t want to deal with the protests and the violence by non-student, older anarchists. But Berkeley is one campus in the statewide, Univ of CA system, run by a President and Board of Regents, who are going to take a longer view of the implications of banning a conservative speaker. It would be interesting to know what went on behind the scenes, but it appears that the Regents over-ruled the locals. Now all the locals can do is try to limit the impact by time, place and manner restrictions.

    1. Why would the university threaten to arrest Ann Coulter for trespassing, but not any protestors who were not students? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

    2. @Tin, the UC Board of Regents is made up of current political officeholders (almost all Dems) and big money donors to same. They might take a slightly longer-term view, but they’re no friends of the notion that diversity needs to apply to ideas as well as optics.

      1. How do you know that?

        I assert that you are just Making Stuff Up.

        1. You mean they are friends and the chancellor of Berkeley just hasn’t gotten the memo?

    3. By ‘older anarchists, I do hope you’re being honest enough to acknowledge the alt-right/Neo-Nazis who were in town last Saturday and will undoubtedly be present for Anne’s visit… are they the source of all the violence? Oh, hell no… but they’re most certainly responsible for a substantial part of it…

      Personally, I think the people objecting to Yiannopolos and Coulter are getting played here… neither one has anything of value to say. They’re both one-trick ponies… rhetorical bomb throwers in it for the easy money…

      Who’s the bigger bunch of fools here? The ‘liberals’ who are ‘afraid’ of her nonsense or ‘conservatives’ willing to part w/ good money to listen to it? What’s her speaking fee for this… something like $20K? Talk about wasting money…

      I actually tried reading an Ann Coulter book once… fairness ‘n shit, ya know… and boy do I ever wish I had THAT hour of my life back…

      And i doubt seriously if the UC Admin or Regents are afraid of Ann Coulter’s conservative spiel… they’re probably more afraid of the potential violence and destruction that will undoubtedly result when the Black bloc and the neo-Nazis square off again…

      1. I do hope you’re being honest enough to acknowledge the alt-right/Neo-Nazis who were in town last Saturday and will undoubtedly be present for Anne’s visit…

        The only neo-Nazis are in your imagination.

      2. If it is the Neo-Nazies that are creating the problem, where were they for Yiannopolos? Me thinks they are RESPONDING to prior violence.

      3. Well, it’s really simple.

        If anyone commits violence at the university, they get arrested.

        They have all sorts of Liberal speakers and events that conservatives find distasteful. And yet, somehow, some way, those events take place without the gripping fear of violence or anxiety triggers that leads to the cancellation of conservatives speakers in universities across America.

        So since they do not fear upsetting conservatives, it appears that this is simply viewpoint discrimination.

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