Administrators at the University of California, Berkeley notified Young America’s Foundation (YAF) and the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) of a new security assessment requiring half of Zellerbach Hall to be left empty during Ben Shapiro’s September 14 lecture, despite the university charging more than $15,000 to secure a fully-filled Zellerbach Hall. This move to limit the number of students able to hear, for once, conservative ideas comes as more than 2,500 individuals have confirmed their desire to hear Shapiro speak at Berkeley via wait list.

This latest attempt by UC Berkeley to prevent students from hearing Ben Shapiro at this stop of the Fred Allen Lecture Series reeks of desperation and hypocrisy. In brief, here are some highlights of Berkeley’s broken promises and debunked claims:

  • Berkeley initially offered Zellerbach Hall as part of a belated, face-saving attempt to salvage its public image and cling to the appearance of supporting free speech in the face of a civil rights lawsuit demonstrating Berkeley’s noted failures to honor the law.
  • This came after the school claimed their “extensive efforts” turned up zero available venues, and before they assessed a $15,738 “security fee” to secure a fully-filled Zellerbach Hall. This charge was not accompanied by any explanation of what the $15K+ fee provides or a guarantee that such a fee would protect students from being beaten like animals if campus police officers aren’t allowed to do their jobs.
  • Now instead of releasing tickets for a capacity crowd of 1,978 they’re only allowing 1,042 seats to be used, citing a “security assessment” but not explaining why this assessment wasn’t done earlier, or why other events at Berkeley hosting prominent speakers are not subject to a security assessment leading to a reduction in capacity.

“The lengths UC Berkeley is willing to go to in order to limit conservatives’ exercise of First Amendment freedoms are staggering,” said YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown. “Instead of castigating conservatives, blocking speakers, and limiting attendance, Berkeley’s leadership should be focused on maintaining the rule of law on their campus and holding Antifa and other thugs accountable for their illegal acts.”

Berkeley has repeatedly blamed the conservative students in BCR for delaying the release of tickets for the rapidly-approaching lecture, yet Berkeley administrators went AWOL when YAF staff and BCR members attempted to meet to answer any outstanding questions last week. They still refuse to provide answers on ticketing logistics, and currently want to force attendees to come to the campus personally to pick up tickets rather than allowing modern means of ticketing such as online reservations and print from home tickets.

Berkeley’s press leaks, public statements, and grandstanding on a “free speech year” fall far short of believable or convincing when their hypocritical actions over the past six months are considered.

For further information or to cover this story contact Spencer Brown by phone (800-872-1776) or email (