UC Berkeley ditches Ann Coulter speech over fears of more protests



UC Berkeley has canceled a scheduled speech by conservative icon Ann Coulter over fears that it may spark further protests.

The school was at the epicenter of heated riots in February when conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos was invited to speak on campus. Fights also broke out around its campus last week when pro- and anti-Trump protesters clashed during an event at Civic Center Park.

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Trump rallies turn violent in Berkeley, Calif.
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Trump rallies turn violent in Berkeley, Calif.
Anti and pro-Donald Trump protesters clash during the Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley, California, U.S. April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
A man is treated after being pepper sprayed during the Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley, California, U.S. April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Anti and pro-Donald Trump protesters clash during the Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley, California, U.S. April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
A protester is peppered sprayed by a counter protester during the Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley, California, U.S. April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
A pro-Trump supporter bleeds after being hit by a counter protester during the Patriots Day Free Speech Rally in Berkeley, California, U.S. April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Urquhart
Demonstrators in support of U.S. President Donald Trump gestures during a rally in Berkeley, California in Berkeley, California, U.S., April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A man in support of U.S. President Donald Trump (L) is being pepper spray by a group on counter-protestor during a rally in Berkeley, California in Berkeley, California, U.S., April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A demonstrator in support of U.S. President Donald Trump (L) scuffles with a counter-protester during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A man is pulled away from a scuffle as scattered fights break out between supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump and counter-protesters during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A bloodied supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump is seen after a "People 4 Trump" rally and counter-protest turned violent in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A man (L) punches a supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Demonstrators against U.S. President Donald Trump throw a traffic cone towards opposition demonstrators during a rally in Berkeley, California in Berkeley, California, U.S., April 15, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Counter-demonstrators (L) and supporters (R) of U.S. President Donald Trump fight for a U.S. flag during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A Trump supporter wrapped in a Trump flag looks on as multiple fights break out between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters in Berkeley, California on April 15, 2017. Hundreds of people with opposing opinions on President Donald Trump threw stones, lit fires, tossed explosives and tear gas and attacked each other with makeshift weapons as police stood by. / AFP PHOTO / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A man sprayed with milk after being struck with a chemical irritant as multiple fights break out between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters in Berkeley, California on April 15, 2017. Hundreds of people with opposing opinions on President Donald Trump threw stones, lit fires, tossed explosives and tear gas and attacked each other with makeshift weapons as police stood by. / AFP PHOTO / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
An injured man lies on the pavement as another injured man (R), bloodied from a brawl, walks away after multiple fights broke out between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters in Berkeley, California on April 15, 2017. Hundreds of people with opposing opinions on President Donald Trump threw stones, lit fires, tossed explosives and tear gas and attacked each other with makeshift weapons as police stood by. / AFP PHOTO / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman gets milk poured in her eyes after getting sprayed with a chemical irritant as multiple fights break out between Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters in Berkeley, California on April 15, 2017. Hundreds of people with opposing opinions on President Donald Trump threw stones, lit fires, tossed explosives and tear gas and attacked each other with makeshift weapons as police stood by. / AFP PHOTO / Josh Edelson (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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In light of these events, university officials said in a letter to the campus Republican group that had invited Coulter to speak that it had canceled her speech over worries that it may fuel backlash the way Yiannopoulos' scheduled appearance had. The same college Republican group had invited Yiannopoulos to speak in February, but his invitation was also rescinded amidst the violence that news of his planned appearance prompted.

After her speech was canceled, Coulter told The Washington Post in an email that UC Berkeley had been trying to force her to pull out of her appearance by "imposing ridiculous demands," but that she complied with "all of their silly requirements."

Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof told The Post that although it had not been in contact with Coulter, it had been in touch with the campus group that invited her to speak. "Everything we're doing is so the speaker and students can actually exercise their rights without disruption," Mogulof said. "It's unfortunate that people who think the university's efforts to keep students and the speaker herself safe are 'silly.'"

Coulter said those requirements included that she make her speech in the middle of the day, that the event only be open to students, and that the venue she'd be speaking at wouldn't be announced until the last minute. She had planned to speak to students about immigration.

Coulter said that she believes her right to free speech "has been unconstitutionally banned" by the "public, taxpayer-supported UC-Berkeley."

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Ann Coulter through the years
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Ann Coulter through the years
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23: Ann Coulter, left, is interviewed for One America News Network on Wednesday October 23, 2013 in Washington, DC. Coulter is promoting her new book, 'Never Trust a Liberal Over 3-Especially a Republican'. (Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Jimmie Walker and Ann Coulter during 5th Annual TV Land Awards - Arrivals at Barker Hanger in Santa Monica, CA, United States. (Photo by Barry King/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: Political commentator and author Ann Coulter arrives at the premiere of 'Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!' at iPic Theaters on July 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 27: Political commentator, author Ann Coulter attends The Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe at Sony Studios on August 27, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 27: Commentator Ann Coulter attends The Comedy Central Roast Of Rob Lowe held at Sony Studios on August 27, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 27: Ann Coulter attends the Comedy Central Roast of Rob Lowe at Sony Studios on August 27, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
CORAL GABLES, FL - MARCH 10: Ann Coulter signs copies of her book 'Adios America' at Books and Books on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 10: Ann Coulter arrives at the TV Land Icon Awards at The Barker Hanger on April 10, 2016 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Jerod Harris/WireImage)
CORAL GABLES, FL - MARCH 10: Ann Coulter signs copies of her book 'Adios America' at Books and Books on March 10, 2016 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images)
THE VIEW - Ann Coulter, Alan Alda, and Malcolm Jamal Warner are the guests today, October 16, 2015 on ABC's 'The View.' 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10: Ann Coulter speaks during Politicon at the Los Angeles Convention Center on October 10, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: Political pundit/author Ann Coulter arrives for the Premiere Of The Asylum's 'Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!' at iPic Theaters on July 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: Ann Coulter and Lou Ferrigno arrives at the Premiere Of The Asylum's 'Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!' at iPic Theaters on July 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 22: Political commentator and author Ann Coulter arrives at the premiere of 'Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!' at iPic Theaters on July 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 15: Political Commentator Ann Coulter and actor Evan Henzi attend AN OPEN SECRET Los Angeles Premiere on July 15, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for Platform Media Group)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JULY 15: Commentator Ann Coulter attends the Los Angeles premiere of Amy Berg's 'An Open Secret' at Writers Guild Theater on July 15, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Vincent Sandoval/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 25: Director Matthew Heineman and Ann Coulter attend The Orchard And The Cinema Society Host A Special Screening Of 'Cartel Land' after party at Tribeca Grand Hotel on June 25, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
Author Ann Coulter speaks during an address to the 39th Conservative Political Action Committee February 10, 2012 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Ann Coulter speaks during Politicon at the Pasadena Convention Center in Pasadena, California on July 29, 2017. Politicon is a bipartisan convention that mixes politics, comedy and entertainment. (Photo by: Ronen Tivony) (Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - JULY 29: Ann Coulter (L) and Greg Proops speak during their appearance at Pasadena Convention Center on July 29, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Michael Schwartz/Getty Images)
THE VIEW - Ann Coulter is the guest, Monday, May 1, 2017 on ABC's 'The View.' 'The View' airs Monday-Friday (11:00 am-12:00 pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Paula Lobo/ABC via Getty Images) WHOOPI GOLDBERG, SUNNY HOSTIN, JOY BEHAR, ANN COULTER, SARA HAINES, JEDEDIAH BILA
PASADENA, CA - JULY 29: Ann Coulter (L) and Greg Lewis at Politicon at Pasadena Convention Center on July 29, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Politicon)
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She continued: "They just up and announced that I was prohibited from speaking anyway ... I feel like the Constitution is important and that taxpayer-supported universities should not be using public funds to violate American citizens' Constitutional rights."

University officials said they were initially unaware of Coulter's invitation because the campus Republican group had not informed the university it was inviting her. They said they found out about the event after reading about it in newspapers.

Coulter said in her email that she is still planning on speaking at the university, and the spokesman for Young America's Foundation, a conservative national group that helped organize the event, said Coulter is planning to speak on April 27.

"If Berkeley wants to have free speech, they are going to get it," the spokesman, Spencer Brown, said.

Berkeley officials said that they were not canceling Coulter's appearance because of her controversial views. "It has nothing to do with anyone's political views. We believe in unqualified support to the First Amendment. But we also have an unqualified focus on safety of our students," Mogulof said. "We are going to be making a concerted effort to explain the reasons behind this."

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