Campus update on Free Speech Week: Milo talk, week ahead

Sunday, Sept. 24

Sunday’s events and what to expect the rest of this week

Today’s events on campus were relatively peaceful, and the crowd that began gathering around 10 a.m. had dispersed by early afternoon. Milo Yiannopoulos made a brief appearance at noon and left shortly thereafter. We have been told he will not be returning to campus this week.

Upper Sproul Plaza will be fully reopened by Monday morning and police barricades will be removed early in the week.

A previously planned rally scheduled for noon tomorrow will take place on the West Crescent which runs along Oxford Avenue.

Campus leadership will communicate in greater detail about the impact recent events have had on our campus community later in the week and offer plans for moving forward.

Milo’s visit

Conservative activist Milo Yiannopoulos visited the UC Berkeley campus Sunday, signing autographs, taking selfies and singing the Star Spangled Banner with supporters in a largely uneventful and brief appearance.

Around 700 to 800 people turned out to the central campus in advance of Yiannopoulis’s announced visit, and around 150 were admitted to a Sproul Plaza site surrounded by barricades, after being cleared by police checking bags and using metal detectors to safeguard against weapons.

A group in red “Make America Great Again” hats shouted “USA! USA! USA!” followed by a group of counter-demonstrators shouting,” No Trump! No KKK! No fascist USA!” On the edges, hundreds of police stood ready to march into the crowd and break up the occasional shoving match.

Campus police reported one arrest of someone found with a pair of gloves with plastic knuckles, and another for violation of a campus policy barring amplified sound. Two other people were escorted out of the area after refusing to climb down from barricades set up to enhance security for Yiannopoulis.

The talk came on the first day of what had been billed as Free Speech Week, a series of programs set for the Sproul Plaza area Sunday through Sept. 27. The Berkeley Patriot student organization announced on Saturday that it had canceled its plans for those events. Yiannopoulos was not invited by a registered student organization or anyone else representing UC Berkeley, and he appeared on campus as a private citizen.

However, campus spokesman Dan Mogulof said that extensive security measures remained in place on Sunday because of uncertainty about who might or might not show up from either the conservative side or opposing factions. Mogulof also pointed to violence – some of it deadly – that has marred other university and college speaking events in recent weeks.

“We’re seeing things here on the campus and in the country that we haven’t seen before,” said Mogulof at a news conference on Sunday for about 30 news reporters.

“These sorts of preparations were justified and needed,” he added.

He and UC Police Chief Margo Bennett answered questions about the Yiannopoulis visit, which is estimated to have cost about $800,000 for extra law enforcement personnel and equipment from about eight to 10 outside agencies. Extra safety measures will remain in place for the remainder of what would have been Free Speech Week, with daily adjustments based on who may visit and other information.

“Whether it’s overkill (or not), we’ll take that – given it (the Yiannopoulis visit) was safe,” Mogulof said.

“Now we want to move on with the rest of the semester and do what we do best,” said Mogulof, noting UC Berkeley’s academic mission and the approach of midterm exams for thousands of its approximately 30,000 students .

Mike Wright, 26, editor-in-chief of the Berkeley Patriot and graduating senior in political science, said he came to UC Berkeley to be surrounded by people he disagreed with.

“As a student, I reject the notion that anybody I invite or anybody I want to hear from I have to agree with 100 percent of what they say; that I’m responsible for 100 percent of what they say,” said Wright. “I want to hear different viewpoints, and have access to that as a student because it makes my education more rich, and I think it makes everyone education more rich.”

Noah Westerfield, a senior geography major, watched the scene on Sproul from the steps of the Martin Luther King Jr. building.

“Free speech is awesome, man,” he said as he watched police monitor the crowds on Sproul. “They should be able to say whatever they want to say. But if you know you’re coming to a place like Berkeley and you know that it can cause violence from people that want attention, I just don’t think it is productive (for you to be here). I just don’t think it is helpful.”

Instead, Westerfield suggested that they should be game for real political debate.

“I think there should be a great debate with people on both sides, I think that would be awesome,” he said. “The proof is in the pudding at that point: people are saying one thing and the other side is saying another. You can actually grab something from both sides.”

He lamented the extraordinary precautions taken for Yiannopoulis and for Ben Shapiro previously, but called them necessary: “This is the only option at this point, you gotta protect people and all these cops. This is the best way they could handle this. Berkeley has been weaponized. It kinda sucks, but I think it is necessary.”

Saturday evening, Sept. 23

Milo Yiannopoulos has indicated his plans to speak on Sproul Plaza at noon on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. UCPD is putting measures in place to ensure the safety of the campus community. Now that the Berkeley Patriot student organization has cancelled its plans for events Sunday through Wednesday (9/24-27), Yiannopoulos has NOT been invited by a registered student organization or anyone else representing UC Berkeley.

Administrative buildings are typically closed and locked on Sundays. Libraries and other buildings that serve students (specifically Eshelman and Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center) are open. Anyone planning to be on campus on Sunday is encouraged to carry their Cal ID if they wish to gain entrance to buildings.

Counter protests associated with Yiannopoulos’ appearance have been announced. If you choose to engage in the protests, we encourage you to review our suggestions found at this link: how to protest safely. We encourage you to think critically about your actions and not react to the provocations of others. If the actions of those around you are not consistent with your own values and goals, please remove yourself from the situation. If you choose to remain in an area where violence is occurring, you may be subject to arrest or removal. Our campus will not tolerate acts of violence or the destruction of property, and the UCPD will dutifully investigate, arrest, and prosecute anyone who commits crimes on our campus.

UCPD advises that if you see violence occurring, separate yourself from it. Doing so can help keep you out of harm’s way. Report what you see to police (by calling 9-1-1 or 510-642-3333 or by using a blue light emergency phone found on campus) if you can do so safely, and follow police instructions. Should there be incidents on campus, UCPD will be using the text and email messaging service found at this link: Nixle to keep the campus at large informed about developments throughout the day.

Thank you for your continued patience.

Saturday, Sept. 23

The student organization Berkeley Patriot has indicated through its outside legal counsel that they have canceled all events due to take place from Sept. 24-27.

The situation is evolving and we will continue to provide information on our update website, especially about campus security measures. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Friday, Sept. 22

The UC Berkeley Office of Communications and Public Affairs sent this message to the campus community today: 

Despite today’s conflicting media reports about the status of events scheduled for next week, from Sunday through Wednesday, the university is proceeding with plans to provide security for the campus community and any of the speakers who will appear here.

Below is our current plan. Depending on how activities transpire on campus, some of this may change. We will continue to keep the campus community updated as information becomes available on this web page.

Traffic control

The City of Berkeley is advising that there may be traffic impacts near the south side of campus on Bancroft Avenue due to its proximity to the events.

Parking

The ASUC garage will be closed and the parking on Barrow Lane, Peppertree and North Sproul Lot will be closed. The ADA parking in North Sproul Lot will be available for vehicles with proper tags/licenses.

Transportation

In addition to the three regular Night Safety Shuttle routes, Parking and Transportation will offer a Door-to-Door shuttle on the nights of Monday, Sept. 25, through Wednesday, Sept. 27, as an alternative to walking. This designated Door-to-Door shuttle will pick up from the east side of South Hall from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. Regular Night Safety Shuttles, North and South sides, will operate as usual.

Buildings and activities

We are currently planning to keep all campus buildings open. Entrances opening onto Lower Sproul Plaza and Upper Sproul Plaza will be restricted. Everyone should plan to carry their Cal ID card in case it will be required for entrance into buildings.

Some classes, programs and activities that take place in the buildings that border Upper and Lower Sproul may be relocated during the events of next week.

Staff who work in buildings near Upper and Lower Sproul should consult with their managers on alternative work arrangements, if needed. If managers or employees have questions about alternative work arrangements, they should send an email to AVC-HR@berkeley.edu.

Student tabling

Tables that are typically set up by students on Upper Sproul Plaza will be relocated to the outside area across from the Wheeler Hall steps. Tables and chairs will be available each day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at an adjacent location. For questions related to the ASUC Student Union, please visit studentunion.berkeley.edu/news/access for updated information. If you have any questions, please contact suadmin@berkeley.edu.

The events

The events are sponsored by Berkeley Patriot, a registered student organization. Questions about the events themselves should be directed to the student organization.

Safe passage on campus

Please see the map below for directions for traversing safely through campus.

walking map 9-22

 

Wednesday, Sept. 20

UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ sent this message today to the campus community:

Dear students, staff and faculty,

As we move toward a series of events that start this Sunday on campus, I want to first express my deep regret about the stress this is causing for many members of our campus community and the burden it is placing on people to continue their regular routines in the midst of what will cause a disruption here. The ideas likely to be expressed by some of the speakers next week run counter to our Principles of Community, particularly the one that affirms the dignity of all individuals and encourages us to strive to uphold a just community where discrimination and hate are not tolerated.

As we all work to uphold these principles, we must also fulfill our legal obligations as a public university. This includes allowing our registered student organizations to plan and conduct events and invite outside speakers.

Below is the latest information we have about the “Free Speech Week” events being planned by California Patriot for Sept. 24-27. We will post updates here as details are confirmed and as safety and security plans proceed. The University of California Police Department (UCPD) is conducting security assessments and will provide updates soon about possible building and road closures and campus detours. UCPD officers and colleagues from other agencies are committed to preserving safety and security, and to minimizing the disruption of campus life by people who are neither members of the university community nor invited guests. Some faculty and staff leaders may choose to temporarily relocate classes and programs in order to minimize disruption. Thank you for appreciating that we find ourselves amid a great deal of uncertainty.

The south area of campus, in particular the Savio Steps in front of Sproul Hall and Lower Sproul Plaza, will be the areas most impacted. UCPD is working to minimize disruption to the occupants of nearby buildings and to those who pass through those areas.

Anticipated California Patriot Events

Confirmed Speakers are in bold. Speakers the student organization indicates are expected but unconfirmed are in italics.

  1. Sunday 9/24, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., Savio Steps, Upper Sproul Plaza, Miss Elaine
  2. Sunday 9/24, 5:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., Savio Steps, Upper Sproul Plaza, speakers Lisa De PasqualeLucian WintrichChadwick Moore
  3. Monday, 9/25, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., Savio Steps, Upper Sproul Plaza, speaker Ariana Rowlands
  4. Monday, 9/25, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Savio Steps, Upper Sproul Plaza, speaker Monica Crowley
  5. Tuesday, 9/26, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., Lower Sproul Plaza, speaker Ryan Girdusky
  6. Tuesday, 9/26, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Lower Sproul Plaza, speakers David HorowitzPamela Gellar
  7. Wednesday, 9/27, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., Savio Steps, Upper Sproul Plaza, speakers Stelion Onufrei, SARGOH, Mike Cernovich
  8. Wednesday, 9/27, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Savio Steps, Upper Sproul Plaza, speakers Milo YiannopoulosSABOSteve Bannon, Ann Coulter, Alex Marlow, 

We have told California Patriot that we need to know exactly who is coming so we can arrange security and keep the public and the campus community informed.

The only steps left to be completed by California Patriot are confirmation of speakers and compliance with ticketing procedures and other security requirements listed in the UCPD security assessment that was provided to the student organization.

As evidenced by the peaceful facilitation of the Ben Shapiro event last Thursday night, the campus administration and the university as a whole are committed to freedom of speech and to devoting resources to preserve the ability of student organizations to host speakers, without regard to the message expressed by the speaker. We are also committed to protecting public safety.

As we get closer to the events, and as more information becomes available, we will continue to share information here.

There have been and will continue to be many conflicting media reports. We will do our best to provide timely and accurate information about next week’s events as it becomes available.

Sincerely,

Carol Christ, Chancellor