Coulter's Berkeley speech canceled, police prep for violence

Nicole Bengiveno The New York Times		Ann Coulter spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington

Nicole Bengiveno The New York Times Ann Coulter spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington

Law enforcement officials are prepared for potential violence on the campus of University of California, Berkeley in California, despite the recent cancellation of a planned speech there by conservative speaker Ann Coulter. He said students should expect a heavy police presence Thursday and "a very, very low tolerance of violence". Berkeley police has also reached out to local and state police forces to inform them if they might be calling for assistance.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks cited all three incidents in explaining why the school balked at Coulter's original plans to speak on campus on Thursday.

After insisting she would go through with her speech on Thursday, with or without university approval, Coulter changed her mind as support from student organizers collapsed.

Ann Coulter was scheduled to speak on April 27 despite being canceled by UC-Berkeley, but that speech will no longer be happening because YAF pulled their support.

Coulter said in an email to The Associated Press that she might stroll across campus to greet supporters and "stroll around the graveyard of the First Amendment".

She later added, "A$3 ll of the people who should have been standing up for the First Amendment here all ran away with their tails between their legs".

Berkeley police and UC Berkeley Police say they will be on alert throughout the day for any problems.

Ann Coulter, the right-wing pundit who had been invited to speak on campus but was forced to cancel because of security concerns, exploited that same narrative. She told Florida-based radio station 850 WFTL on Wednesday, "I still wanted to do it but I'm running out of options here". UC Berkeley officials denied that Coulter was unwelcome because of her politics.

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It was announced on Wednesday that Coulter's speech had been canceled after the YAF - which has previously backed her against criticism - pulled out. "The strategies necessary to address these evolving threats are also evolving, but the simplistic view of some - that our police department can simply step in and stop violent confrontations whenever they occur - ignores reality".

Instead, she said this: "I am definitely giving the speech". Troy Worden, left, president of the Young Republicans and their attorney Harmeet Dhillon, right, talk with the media during a press conference held by the Berkeley College Republicans in Sproul Plaza.

Pranav says that the statement by Dirks was correct, and that in his opinion the University acted in good faith in their attempt to facilitate the event.

YAF's statement calls into question their mission statement, a commitment to: " ensuring that...young Americans understand and are inspired by the ideas of individual freedom, a strong national defense, free enterprise, and traditional values".

The tension illustrates how Berkeley has emerged as a flashpoint for extreme left and right forces amid the debate over free speech in a place where the 1960s US free speech movement began before it spread to college campuses across the nation. Student groups blame Coulter cancellation on Cal Civic Center Park has turned into an actual battleground in May, and may again Thursday.

Police say they're watching social media for posts about Coulter, hoping to gauge the size of protest crowds.

The result has been such toxicity on college campuses that even conservatives acknowledge it is causing their side to dig in irrationally, growing intractable even when the speaker is someone like Mr. Yiannopoulos, who has defended pederasty, or Richard Spencer, a white supremacist and self-appointed leader of the fringe alt-right movement.

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