Berkeley Braces for Hurricane Free Speech

Gary Fouse

This article first appeared in New English Review Review.

Conservative pundit Ben Shapiro was able to complete his speech at the University of California  last week thanks to the campus and Berkeley police shedding their potted plant costumes and ensuring that free speech was actually possible. Now comes the big storm. September 24-27 has been declared Free Speech Week as conservative speakers will be attempting to exercise their constitutional rights. Not surprisingly, the far-left is trying to shut it down-violently if necessary, while the university tries to shut it down with red tape and security fees.

Acting in the spirit of education, over 132 Berkeley professors signed a letter asking students to stay off campus during the above days and skip classes. Neat. I suggest students leave campus permanently since they are not getting an education anyway. They can be just as well indoctrinated sitting at home on their computers.

Judging from the announcement (linked above), it's pretty much an all star cast. One of the lesser-known speakers is a young lady to watch. Ariana Rowlands is a former president of the UC Irvine campus Republicans, a real burr under the saddle of UCI administrators. Here is what she says on Facebook about how college administrators are attempting to keep conservative speakers off campuses.

"The newest college administration trick to stop a conservative speaker from speaking at their campus is to pretend like they're going to be cooperative with the event and make empty promises to bring the student group's guard down. Then, just when event details need to be finalized, the administration completely flips the script by digging up arbitrary reasons as to why the previously agreed to contractual requirements cannot be fulfilled and gives new, completely unacceptable requirements that must be met by a fast-approaching deadline or else they say they'll be forced to cancel the event. Colleges across California are attempting this. Sad! They will lose!"

Ariana should know. She went through this with the UC Irvine administrators when she was bringing Milo Yiannapoulos to UCI. They attempted to suspend the College Republicans for a year over some security misunderstanding. They were forced to back down when a national furor arose. In the end, the College Republicans made the UCI administration look like a bunch of boobs.

For those who care about free speech, the eyes of the nation will be on Berkeley September 24-27. No doubt the forces of Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and a few Palestinian flags will show up and make their voices heard. If the cops elect to show a low profile (their preference) and once again assume the position of potted plants, there will be violence. It will not come from the organizers and supporters of the events.

How ironic that conservatives have to put up big security fees when it is the other side that poses the threat of violence. It reminds me of the old Mafia protection racket where store owners had to pay Vinnie and Sluggo money every month to be "protected"-from them.

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