The Young America’s Foundation has put the University of California-Berkeley on notice: Either honor the First Amendment rights of students by allowing conservative author and commentator Ann Coulter to appear on campus as originally scheduled, or face a federal lawsuit.
In a letter sent to UC-Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor Stephen Sutton late Thursday night, a legal representative of YAF and the Berkeley College Republicans threatened to file a federal lawsuit seeking relief, including claims for “injunctive relief and damages.”
The two conservative organizations have partnered to bring Coulter to Berkeley on April 27, but citing the supposed inability to provide proper security, Berkeley canceled the event on Wednesday. With Coulter vowing to go anyway and amid massive public backlash, the university, which prides itself as being the “birthplace of the free speech movement,” reversed its decision on Thursday and said it would allow Coulter to appear, but in a location not usually used for such events. This location, claimed the university, will allow it to better protect participants. The university also imposed what the conservative groups blasted as all-new restrictions on their First Amendment rights.
In the letter to Vice Chancellor Sutton, Harmeet K. Dhillon, the conservative organizations’ representative, condemns Berkeley’s response as a violation of students’ constitutional rights. “The University’s actions violate fundamental principles of free speech, equal protection, and due process guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and will not be tolerated,” writes Dhillon.
The university has until 5:00 p.m. on Friday, April 21, to confirm that Coulter’s speech will go on as planned and in a “similar forum” as that “provided to other prominent speakers this month,” or Dhillon “will seek relief in federal court, including claims for injunctive relief and damages.”
Dhillon’s letter to Sutton below: