After coming under public pressure for giving the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) the runaround on a venue for a scheduled event featuring Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro, the University of California Berkeley announced on Thursday that they had found some "workable options" for hosting the conservative author and speaker. On Friday, the university finally reached out to BCR to present two venue options for the September 14 event.
An email from the Berkeley administration sent to BCR on Friday detailed two "workable options" they had found for the event. The administration said that while one of the venues, Zellerbach, is currently undergoing some floor restoration, "in light of the unique circumstances of this event," they were offering it as location for Shapiro's appearance. The other option is Alumnae Hall in the Anna Head Complex.
The email also addresses the continued legal tension between the administration and BCR, asking the group not to bring their legal counsel to the proposed security meeting for the event, expressing a concern that "the presence of each side's litigation counsel will not promote a productive discussion." If BCR stands by its plan to bring its legal counsel, the university said it would prefer to "conduct further business in writing."
The letter goes on to cite the priority subjects to be addressed in the security meeting, including hospitality, security requirements and other logistics.
The emailed letter came one day after UC Berkeley publicly asserted that the event "is going to happen," but did so before having contacted BCR about their decision. A day letter, the university followed through. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education published the following on Thursday:
“It’s clear that we have a number of workable options,” said Dan Mogulof, Berkeley’s assistant vice chancellor for public affairs. “This event is going to happen. We just need to sit down with the College Republicans to talk through the details.”
He said it was unclear whether the Berkeley College Republicans had been informed of the news.
Mogulof said Berkeley reconsidered its initial denial of the College Republicans’ request for a free, centrally located, 500-seat campus venue. Berkeley initially said the College Republicans didn’t follow the rules by pre-booking Shapiro before they asked whether the university had a room available.
“We didn’t have any options in terms of the spaces available free of charge,” Mogulof told FIRE, but “because of the extent of our commitment to free speech, the campus will help fund any fees associated with hosting this event if need be.”
So, for now, it looks like the Shapiro event is a go — all it took was the right kind of applied pressure ...