Responding to the University of California, Berkeley’s response to Young America’s Foundation’s lawsuit to restore students’ free speech rights, YAF released a blistering statement calling the university's new free-speech policy a violation of the Constitution.
Young America’s Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) had filed a lawsuit against the university on April 24, 2017 over the university’s unconstitutional suppression of free speech on campus. The lawsuit claimed the university had exhibited a “discriminatory application of a policy to restrict conservative speech on the UC Berkeley campus, in violation of YAF and BCR’s constitutional rights to free speech, due process, and equal protection under the law.”
That lawsuit was prompted two incidents: BCR being forced to cancel a scheduled April 12, 2017 speaking engagement by David Horowitz after the University first demanded that Horowitz speak before 3 p.m. in the afternoon, when students were in class, then demanded that the speech take place in a room on a separate campus that is more than one mile from the main campus center, and the university canceling a speaking engagement by Ann Coulter, which had been scheduled to take place on campus on April 27, 2017.
The lawsuit added, “The University partially retracted its cancellation of the Coulter event, offering to allow Ms. Coulter to speak the following week, on May 2, 2017 – during a period referred to by the University as a ‘dead week,’ in which no classes are held, and far fewer students are on campus due to final exams the week following – but still insisted that the event would be subject to a 3:00 p.m. curfew and unspecified venue restrictions.”
In its current statement, YAF wrote:
Inexplicably, UC-Berkeley’s free speech policy will allow input from such groups as Antifa, the same masked thugs responsible for physically assaulting conservatives and terrorizing campuses with violent attacks, vandalism, and looting. Berkeley irrationally claims this yet-to-be-seen policy makes the Foundation’s lawsuit moot.
The very idea that a free speech policy is open to discussion or negotiation is absurd. UC-Berkeley administrators should base any policies protecting students’ constitutional rights on the Constitution itself.
Berkeley’s response laughably alleges that its actions—welcoming prominent liberals, including Maria Echaveste, a top aide to President Bill Clinton and Vicente Fox Quesada the former president of Mexico, while simultaneously denying equal access for students attempting to host David Horowitz and Ann Coulter—are “viewpoint neutral.”