A grant of $17,000 was granted to more than a dozen student organizations at the University of California, Berkley – U.C. Berkley. The grant was awarded by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California – ACLU-NC to conduct different social justice programming.
The grant, which is way larger than the initial $10,000 that was indicated in the ACLU-NC project launch, will be shared by these clubs to pay the speakers to give campus lectures on issues that are relevant to topics like “racial justice, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQ inclusion, or other equal justice issues” for the remainder of this academic year, as per the ACLU-NC grant announcement.
“At a time when people are claiming free speech to mask racism and violence, we are proud to help students use their First Amendment rights to denounce bigotry and organize in support of equal justice,” ACLU-NC Associate Director Christine Sun stated during her interview with the school newspaper.
This grant’s recipients include the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare’s Graduate Assembly; the intersectional Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law, and Justice; and CalSLAM, a poetry group that organized an anti-colonialist program just before Thanksgiving, which it had dubbed to be “ThanksTaking.”
A coalition of these organizations that are affiliated with the UC Berkeley law school have jointly received a portion of the grant, and will be reportedly using this money to fund a February 2nd symposium that is being titled “United Against White Supremacy.”
“This symposium will be a space to examine and discuss how white supremacy operates in our daily lives,” according to the event description. “In particular, the symposium will convene panels addressing gentrification, affirmative action, immigration, and incarceration. These panels will provide forums to develop new ways of thinking and legal strategies to confront and dismantle white supremacy.”
The groups responsible for running the program include the Berkeley Journal of African-American Law and Policy, Asian American Law Journal, Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, and Berkeley Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Law.
Furthermore, the Berkeley chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, a left-wing collective of the lawyers and law students that has supported the Antifa protesters without criticizing their violent tactics was also involved, this group was a leading advocate of the convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh in her failed attempt to fight the deportation from the United States.
The Black Graduate Engineering and Science Students, will be reportedly using the money to host a Harvey Mudd College mathematics professor Talithia Williams to discuss in detail the diversity and inclusion in the STEM.
Other grant recipients may also include the Hermanos Unidos de UC Berkeley; Students of Color in Public Policy with Thinking About Power and Privilege; ASUC Environmental Council; Generation Citizen; Rising Immigrant Scholars Through Education; and the Yemeni Student Association, as per the grant announcement.
Dan Mogulof, a spokesperson from the UC Berkeley said, “The university has no legal ability or right to interfere with the legal autonomy of the campus’s 1,000 student organizations, which are separate legal organizations. The university does not have the legal ability to tell student organization who they can and cannot invite.”
The grant comes right after Berkeley had faced continuous criticism for its handling of an on-campus speech by the conservative Ben Shapiro, who had been invited by a Republican student club. The organizers had clashed with the university over the limited number of seats that were made available for the event, and was slammed for offering counseling to distressed students or faculty.
The school then went on to be a part of another controversy when the renowned lawyer Alan Dershowitz had warned that he would sue the administration if he was kept from speaking on campus due to the campus’s policy requiring eight-week notice to complete a security assessment for the certain event. Dershowitz was however allowed to speak after the law school had agreed to co-sponsor the program. His speech was then met by an anti-Semitic cartoon in a newspaper.