Harmeet Dhillon addressed hundreds of college students from 34 states and more than 120 schools today, as part of Young America’s Foundation’s 39th annual National Conservative Student Conference in Washington, DC, July 31 to August 4. Dhillon spoke amongst an inspiring lineup of conservative leaders including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary Ben Carson, Kellyanne Conway, Senators Mike Lee and Rand Paul, Dr. Art Laffer, Dr. Carol Swain, Dinesh D’Souza, Newt Gingrich, Dennis Prager, Eric Bolling, Todd Starnes, and others.
“American universities once were at the vanguard of free speech in our society,” Dhillon told a captivated audience of young people, many of whom have found themselves at odds with school administrators attempting to restrict conservative speech on their campuses.
“Sadly, today, this tradition has metastasized into a movement to turn our universities into sanctuaries free from speech—speech that challenges, speech that is unpopular, speech that goes against the politically correct, progressive liberal grain that pervades academia. And today, it is conservative students who are spearheading the effort to bring free speech back to campus, for the benefit of all students, liberal or conservative,” she said.
Dhillon, a First Amendment attorney and national advocate for limited government and individual liberty, represents Young America’s Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans in their lawsuit against Berkeley, which was filed April 24, 2017.
The lawsuit raises free speech and equal protection abuses by Berkeley.
The lawsuit seeks to enjoin Berkeley from applying unconstitutional policies suppressing students’ free speech and unconstitutionally canceling future speaker events.
“All students at Berkeley deserve equal access to taxpayer-funded facilities. This lawsuit seeks to eliminate the discriminatory policies and practices that have repeatedly deprived conservative students of equal access,” said Young America’s Foundation Spokesman Spencer Brown.
On June 28, 2017, Berkeley responded in court, asserting that the policy at issue in the lawsuit (that was used to prevent students from hearing from two YAF speakers) “will be rescinded and replaced,” to the extent the policy is found to exist, and that administrators are already working on creating a new policy.
The next step will be a hearing on a date to be determined by the court.
In the meantime, students at Berkeley deserve to hear conservative ideas, so YAF is sponsoring popular author and speaker Ben Shapiro to speak at Berkeley on September 14. Originally, Berkeley administrators claimed by email that they were “unable to identify an available campus venue” despite “extensive efforts.”
But after two days of significant media coverage and public pressure, Berkeley reversed course and announced that it did have an available venue after all. The Washington Post reported that UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ has offered to waive a room fee to enable students at Berkeley to hear from Shapiro.
Young America’s Foundation has been delighted to see the enthusiasm of students on the Berkeley campus who are eager to hear from Shapiro.
“We are grateful for Harmeet Dhillon’s excellent representation of Young America’s Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans. We deeply appreciate her passionate advocacy to restore students’ free speech rights.” said Brown.