New UC Berkeley conservative speaker week poses more threats to First Amendment

A student group at UC Berkeley is sponsoring a Free Speech Week set for September 24-27 and has invited conservative speakers Ann Coulter and Milo Yiannopoulos. Speaking events featuring the two did not go well earlier in the year, disrupted or cancelled. UC spokesperson Dan Mogulof said the university has no say on the choice of speakers and that their role was to safeguard people on campus and prepare for safe and secure events. (Time, September 5, 2017, by Katie Steinmetz)

Berkeley Jesse Arreguin worries that Free Speech Week will bring more disruption and violence to the city. In February protesters against Yiannopoulos did $100,000 worth of damage to the student union and spilled onto the Berkeley streets to smash merchant windows. “I obviously believe in freedom of speech, but there is a line between freedom of speech and then posing a risk to public safety,” said Arreguin. “That is where we have to really be very careful — that while protecting people’s free-speech rights, we are not putting our citizens in a potentially dangerous situation and costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing the windows of businesses.”(San Francisco Chronicle, August 29, 2017, by Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross)