On Tuesday the Youth American Foundation in association with Berkley College Republicans announced they would be sponsoring Conservative Author Ben Shapiro to speak at Berkley Campus.
In a statement by spokesman Spencer Brown the YAF affirmed their belief in free speech, and advocating diversity of thought saying,
“Berkeley has a choice: To uphold the the First Amendment rights of all students, or once again cave under pressure from extreme leftists and unconstitutionally censor conservative speech…Berkeley administrators would be wise to offer the same platform to Ben Shapiro and the conservative students hosting him that they’ve given the parade of leftist speakers who’ve appeared at Berkeley.”
The campus has beena battleground between leftist groups and free speech advocates before.
In April, Anne Coulter had been slated to appear at the campus; however attempts at arranging a suitable venue had been cut short when the campus authorities claimed, that they could not host the speaker at a location where they could ensure no risk to those involved.
Speaking to Tucker Carlson after the incident Coulter certainly wasn’t buying those excuses, stating, “There are ways of dealing with violence…We do have a police force.”
Alongside the YAF, Coulter also threatened the University with legal action for failing to protect conservative speakers.
The protests had seen heavy police presence, with a “riot-like” atmosphere expected. As hundreds of free speech advocates assembled near the University to protest the cancellation were met by a heavy leftist and Antifa presence at the scene. While no serious violence was reported 6 people were arrested in the standoff, with knives and other weapons reportedly confiscated by law enforcement.
Whatever allegations campus liberals may have cooked up against Coulter, it’s impossible to argue with Shapiro’s credentials. A summa cum laude from UCLA and cum laude graduate from Harvard University at just 23, he has been an advocate for free speech and Conservative thought at over 30 campuses already.
For his part the author welcomes the challenge and isn’t shrinking in the face of leftist pressure responding to reports of another campus boycott by saying,
“I look forward to speaking to students of all viewpoints at Berkeley. I expect that the administration will not hide behind the heckler’s veto of despicable groups like Antifa to prevent this event from moving forward. The home of the free speech movement has an obligation to protect free speech.”
It remains to be seen whether the concerned authorities will step and take the challenge by confirming that the University will not be blackmailed by the thoughts and opinions of a violent minority. For those Antifa groups who want to silence growing conservative thought amongst students breaking away from liberal groupthink, a strong message is necessary.