A set of conservative firebrands, including Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos, and the Breitbart News executive and former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon have been invited to speak this September at the University of California at Berkeley.
The university is known as the birthplace of the free-speech movement on college campuses, and in recent months has seen violence erupt over speakers slated to appear there.
Dan Mogulof, a spokesman for the university, confirmed to The Chronicle on Wednesday evening that a student group, California Patriot, had invited the speakers for a series of events set to take place on the campus from September 24 to 27. Messages to the event organizer identified by Mr. Mogulof weren’t immediately returned on Wednesday afternoon. Carol Christ, the university’s new chancellor, also said in a statement on Wednesday that Mr. Yiannopoulos has been invited to speak on campus.
“The university has the responsibility to provide safety and security for its community and guests, and we will invest the necessary resources to achieve that goal,” she said in her statement. “If you choose to protest, do so peacefully. That is your right, and we will defend it with vigor. We will not tolerate violence, and we will hold anyone accountable who engages in it.”
Asked if the university was worried given the outbreak of violence that has emerged around recent rallies and demonstrations, Mr. Mogulof said yes. He added that it was important that the university host the event, though he said it would be “deeply upsetting” for some people.
Two of the speakers, Mr. Yiannopoulos and Ms. Coulter, had previously been scheduled to speak at the campus this year. But the event featuring Mr. Yiannopoulos, in February, was canceled after protests of the event turned violent. And Ms. Coulter’s planned speech was called off over safety concerns.
In the wake of the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va., this month, at least four universities have refused to host the white nationalist Richard B. Spencer, citing security risks.