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Berkeley Casts Doubt on Motives of ‘Free Speech Week’ Organizers, Citing Missed Deadlines

In a lengthy statement on Saturday the University of California at Berkeley said the student organization behind the hotly anticipated “Free Speech Week” had missed key deadlines in arranging its plans with the university. Those failures by the Berkeley Patriot, the university said, had led it to question whether the group “actually intends to, and/or is able to, carry out the proposed events.”

The rollout of the speaking events, which will supposedly feature several prominent far-right figures, has been chaotic. On Friday it came to light that several of the speakers listed on the event’s website did not intend to appear, with some saying they had not even been contacted. Milo Yiannopoulos, the former Breitbart editor who is central to the planned festivities, scheduled for September 24 to 27, responded by saying that there had been some confusion about the lineup, but that the most prominent speakers were certain to attend.

Those speakers include Ann Coulter, the conservative commentator; Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s former chief strategist; and David Horowitz, the well-known critic of liberalism on campuses.

In its detailed statement on Saturday the university said the student group had already lost its claim to two of the 12 venues it had attempted to book for the events, by missing several standard deadlines to secure contracts with the university. The group has also not given Berkeley “evidence that speakers are actually confirmed,” the university said, nor had it submitted other required paperwork. “The university cannot defend spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide security arrangements for events based on a press release and inconsistent schedules,” the statement read.

It added: “To be clear, Berkeley Patriot may still continue with planning its ‘Free Speech Week’ if it is able to confirm its speakers, confirm its schedules, and comply with UCPD’s security requirements.”

Pranav Jandhyala, identified by The Daily Californian as news editor of the Berkeley Patriot, previously told the newspaper that the university has been “uncommunicative,” and also acknowledged that because Mr. Yiannopoulos has extended most of the speaking invitations, the group “had not been in contact with most of the individual speakers.”

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