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Stephen Bannon Will Speak at Berkeley During ‘Free Speech Week’

Updated (9/12/2017, 5:28 p.m.) with response from the university.

Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s controversial former chief strategist, will speak at the University of California at Berkeley as part of Milo Yiannopoulos’s “Free Speech Week” this month, according to an announcement on Mr. Yiannopoulos’s website.

The Chronicle previously reported that Mr. Bannon, who is also executive chairman of Breitbart News, had been invited to speak on the campus, though the university later said he had not been confirmed as a speaker. ”Uncle Steve was the force behind Trump’s election victory and much of his initial policy making,” says a statement attributed to “MILO” on the site. “Nothing could be better for the leftists who oppose Trump so vehemently than a lesson in the logic behind Trump’s actions, direct from the architect of his policies.”

Mr. Yiannopoulos had been scheduled to speak at the university, often heralded as the birthplace of the free-speech movement in higher education, in February. That event was canceled after protesters wearing all black smashed windows and started fires.

A student group called Berkeley Patriot is sponsoring the “Berkeley Free Speech Week.” Its spokesman didn’t immediately return a request for a comment.

Mr. Yiannopoulos told Breitbart News last week that the event would also feature David Horowitz and Pamela Geller, both right-leaning figures, and more speakers will be announced. Ann Coulter, who was supposed to speak at Berkeley in April, will also speak at the event, which is scheduled for September 24 to 27.

Dan Mogulof, a university spokesman, issued a statement on Tuesday saying he could not confirm the speaking schedule.

“We have repeatedly asked representatives of the Berkeley Patriot to confirm that contracts have been completed between the student organization and each of these speakers; to date they have not,” the statement says. “In addition, the tentative information the student group has shared with us about the scheduling of the proposed speakers conflicts with information that has been shared publicly by Mr. Yiannopoulos.”

Mr. Mogulof said the student group had failed to meet deadlines to provide some information necessary for planning and security. He also wrote that no speaker had made contact with the administration or campus law enforcement, as is required by university policy.

“While campus officials and venue managers are working diligently to assist the Berkeley Patriot group with its proposed events,” Mr. Mogulof wrote, “the group’s failure to meet important deadlines is making it increasingly difficult to ensure a safe and secure program.”

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