Berkeley 'Free Speech Week' Canceled

UC Berkeley says Free Speech Week will cost a million dollars

The New York Times published a almost 1,500-word feature on University of California, Berkeley and the surrounding Free Speech Week planned by conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, without once mentioning Antifa.

Milo Yiannopoulos, a far-right speaker slated for an event during that week, showed up Sunday anyway to deliver a talk to right-wing supporters, who were outnumbered by counterprotesters.

Berkeley's Sproul Plaza was the center of activity on campus during the 1960s Free Speech Movement. "UC Berkeley may have a deservedly poor reputation for free speech, and its students will graduate knowing less than when they came in as freshmen, but you have to give the school credit: they are masters of bureaucratic dirty dealing". But by Sunday, his grand plans had fizzled and big-name speakers had pulled out.

The Mercury News said that there is abundant speculation - even among conservative supporters - that the event was never meant to happen at all, that organizers planned for it to fail and were intent on framing it as censorship by too-liberal university administrators. The bill for the whole event was reportedly $1.4 million, according to The Associated Press.

"The University was prepared to do whatever was necessary to support the First Amendment rights of the student organization", the statement said.

UC Berkeley shelled out $600,000 for security last week when conservative Ben Shapiro spoke at an event organized by campus Republicans.

Yiannopoulos announcement came hours after the university announced that it had been informed by the student group Berkeley Patriot that it was withdrawing its sponsorship of Free Speech Week, which was supposed to kick off Sunday with a host of far-right speakers.

Demonstrators still remained in the vicinity of Sproul Plaza after Yiannopoulos left, at times clogging city streets and impacting traffic. However, Yiannopoulos announced Saturday that he would appear with others at an unsanctioned rally.

The Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost called the protest on Sproul Plaza "relatively peaceful" in its email, and added that Yiannopoulos will not be returning to campus again after his "brief appearance" Sunday afternoon.

The University of California at Berkeley's "Free Speech Week" was canceled Saturday due to safety concerns.

The better news is, as a effect of their own disorganization, clowns like Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopolous will have one less high-profile platform from which to spout their drivel.

The rally sparked criticism on Twitter and one user went on to say he deserved to be arrested. "There were 500 people waiting to get in".

Berkeley Patriot members say UC Berkeley administrators threatened to investigate the group for hate speech violations after the group filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice.

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