Campus announces new date for talk by conservative pundit Coulter

Chancellor Dirks, Alex Yao, Stephen Sutton, Dan Mogulof at news conference

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, at the podium, addresses the press at a campus news conference. Listening, from left, are UCPD Capt. Alex Yao; Stephen Sutton, interim vice chancellor for student affairs; and Dan Mogulof, assistant vice chancellor for public affairs. (UC Berkeley photo by Hulda Nelson)

UC Berkeley announced today that a campus talk by Ann Coulter, the conservative author and pundit whose invitation to speak on campus sparked new concerns over safety and security, can be rescheduled for the afternoon of Tuesday, May 2. The location will be disclosed once campus officials have finalized the details with the Coulter organization and the two student organizations that invited her, the Berkeley College Republicans and BridgeUSA.

The venue, said Dan Mogulof, Berkeley’s assistant vice chancellor for public affairs, “is on campus property.”

Chancellor’s statement

Full text of Dirks’ remarks

Officials had previously warned that due to a lack of an available, protectable venue, staging such an event on April 27, the date students had picked for the controversial speaker’s appearance — and which campus administrators only discovered when it was reported in newspapers — made it impossible for police to ensure the protection of students, attendees, the inevitable throngs of protesters or Coulter herself.

An appearance by right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannoupolos in early February led to violent protests and was canceled before the talk began by agreement with the Berkeley College Republicans, which had sponsored that event as well. Off-campus clashes between Trump supporters and masked, self-described anti-fascists have also erupted in recent weeks.

At a news conference in Haas Paviliion, officials made clear that their concerns over Coulter’s appearance were entirely about the safety of the campus community, not the views of the outspoken pundit.

“This university has an unwavering commitment to the First Amendment of the Constitution,” declared Chancellor Nicholas Dirks. “We also have an unwavering commitment to providing for the safety and well-being” of speakers, students and others, and “we cannot compromise” on either of those responsibilities.

UC Police Capt. Alex Yao said his department had intelligence on “specific and credible” threats regarding the announced April 27 event. The department is conducting an ongoing review of the Yiannopoulos appearance, he said, noting that time of week, time of day and location are key to the ability of police to prevent violence and ensure that events proceed as planned.

After Coulter announced her intention to visit on April 27 despite UCPD’s security concerns — “without regard,” Dirks said, “for the fact that we  don’t have a protectable venue available on that date” — the chancellor asked his staff to expand the search for safe, available locations.

The May 2 venue will be revealed upon approval by the student sponsors and the Coulter organization, Mogulof said.

“We want this event to take place safely and successfully,” he said.