University of California, Berkeley administrators have revealed the backwards reasoning behind their decision to require half of Zellerbach Hall to remain empty when conservative commentator and New York Times bestselling author Ben Shapiro delivers his lecture (part of YAF’s Fred Allen Lecture Series) on September 14—violent Antifa protestors who terrorize the Berkeley community.
“UC Berkeley has created an environment that allows Antifa rioters to run rampant on their campus and in the surrounding community,” said YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown. “Unlawful protestors have been emboldened in their violent suppression of conservative speech due to Berkeley’s inaction in the wake of violent attacks.”
Citing the “violence [that] occurred in the city of Berkeley near the campus on Sunday, August 27,” Vice Chancellor Catherine Koshland rejected an appeal by Young America’s Foundation (YAF) and the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) to allow Zellerbach Hall to be filled to capacity.
“We cannot ignore that in both the local and national context, we must heighten our attention toward the safety of our students, invited guests, faculty and staff,” Koshland continued.
If Koshland and UC Berkeley are sincerely interested in turning their attention to the safety of students, they need to get serious about protecting all students, not just those the university agrees with ideologically. The “stand-down” order that officers operate under further jeopardizes students safety by giving Antifa and other violent protestors license to disrupt and destroy.
“Berkeley has an obligation to protect its students’ ability to engage in a free exchange of ideas, but instead what we see is a university administration that’s done everything in its power to prevent conservative ideas from being heard on campus,” remarked BCR External Vice President Naweed Tahmas. “Rather than hold violent agitators responsible for their actions, our university has chosen to stifle conservative speech. This decision speaks volumes about the school’s alleged commitment to free speech on campus.”
“Instead of blaming conservatives—the victims of these far-left fascist mercenaries—Berkeley needs to maintain peace on their campus through a strong commitment to the rule of law. The university’s attempt to blame conservatives for the Left’s inability to conduct itself in a civilized manner and Berkeley’s unwillingness to hold criminals accountable is sickening,” added YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown.
For further information or to cover this story contact Spencer Brown via phone (800-872-1776) or email (sbrown@YAF.org).