A conservative speaker has decided to challenge the birthplace of the free speech movement to protect his free-speech rights.
The Young America's Foundation (YAF), together with the Berkeley College Republicans, will sponsor Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro to speak at the University of California, Berkeley, on September 14, 2017.
“I look forward to speaking to students of all viewpoints at Berkeley,” Shapiro said. “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.”
Shapiro did a similar event with YAF last year as part of the Fred. R. Allen Freedom Lecture Series. But after speakers such as Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos were shut down by protesters and administrators earlier this year, Shapiro is expected to be met with a different atmosphere.
“Berkeley has a choice to make, and an opportunity: They can uphold the First Amendment rights of all students on their campus by assigning a room for Ben Shapiro to speak in, just as they have done for liberal speakers, or they can double-down on their anti-free-speech pattern of applying unconstitutional viewpoint-discriminatory restrictions on Ben’s speech,” YAF spokesperson Spencer Brown wrote in a statement to the Independent Journal Review.
Brown did not say whether he anticipates violence at Shapiro's event.
The Berkeley College Republicans advertise the event as one that will “find out” whether Shapiro can “do what other conservatives could not” at the Berkeley campus.