BERKELEY, Calif. - At U.C. Berkeley free speech and campus safety could be on a collision course. A leader of a Republican student organization called Berkeley Patriot has confirmed that conservative authors and provocateurs Milo Yiannopoulis and Ann Coulter have agreed to speak on campus.
It is part of free speech week on September 24-27. The university is preparing.
"The Berkeley Patriot have been good faith partners. They reached out to the University in July with a heads up about their intention to hold the four-day event in September. They are following policy to the letter," said U.C. Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof.
There were reports that recently fired White House strategist Steve Bannon was also coming. But organizers say that has not been confirmed.
Last February a riot broke out on campus where Yiannopupolis was set to speak. Six people were injured and the speech was cancelled.
A short time later Ann Coulter's invitation to speak was rescinded over safety concerns. U.C. says this year will be different.
"In the wake of what happened last year over the Milo Yiannopoulis event, our police dept did a clear-eyed comprehensive review of all the arrangements made before during and after the event.And those lessons will be applied going forward," said Mogulof.
The Berkeley College Republicans which organized the previous ill-fated events, applaud the new effort.
" If we are able to successfully have these speakers speak on campus and express themselves freely, then Berkeley would have made good on its promise that it is the home of the free speech movement," said Troy Worden of Berkeley College Republicans.
But students on the left, many making anti-racist signs for a counter-demonstration this weekend, do not want the conservative speakers n campus.
"It's disgusting and to bring this narrative as a free speech issue, whee there is all kinds of violence on campus and the city, racist flyers, that kind of thing is totally unacceptable," said student activist Josh Wilner.
The conservative groups say they expect counter-demonstrations.
But the concern is whether those protests will turn violent..