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Berkeley Reverses Decision to Cancel Ann Coulter Speech

The University of California at Berkeley will allow the firebrand conservative commentator Ann Coulter to speak on the campus after all, officials said on Thursday, after having canceled the event two days earlier, citing security concerns.

The Daily Californian, a student newspaper, reported that the chancellor, Nicholas B. Dirks, said the administration had found a place for Ms. Coulter to speak on the campus, but on May 2, rather than April 27, as originally scheduled.

Ms. Coulter had said she planned to speak at the campus regardless of the university’s decision to cancel her event:

On Thursday she reiterated that intention:

 

The institution had announced on Tuesday that officials could not find a safe place for Ms. Coulter to speak, and that they would have to cancel the event. The Berkeley College Republicans and BridgeUSA, the student groups that are sponsoring the visit, said they were upset with the university’s decision.

“No matter what, she’s coming to Berkeley — despite UC Berkeley’s attempts to silence and suppress her right to come to campus,” Naweed Tahmas, a member of the College Republicans, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Over the weekend, fights erupted in the city of Berkeley between supporters of President Trump and counterprotesters, leaving some hospitalized and others arrested. In February the campus saw protests turn violent when the far-right speaker Milo Yiannopoulos appeared there.

The move to cancel Ms. Coulter’s speech followed an unsuccessful attempt this week to stop a speech by the white supremacist Richard Spencer at Auburn University.

Update (4/22/2017), noon:

Students who invited the right-wing pundit threatened to sue the university on Friday, on the grounds that it would violate their free speech if she is not allowed to speak on April 27, as planned. The university responded that it would not be able to ensure safety for the evening appearance, because of security threats, and are still hoping she will speak on May 2.

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