UC Berkeley seeks confirmation from Free Speech Week speakers

UC Berkeley

“Free Speech Week” at the University of California, Berkeley is on, but with some loose ends to tie up, campus officials said Monday.

Roughly 20 speakers, including right-wing personality Milo Yiannopoulos, say they will take to the steps of Sproul Hall and other campus spots for speeches and interviews beginning Sunday and running through next Wednesday.

But only two of those speakers had confirmed with the university Monday, said campus spokesman Dan Mogulof.

Yiannopoulos and a student publication, “Berkeley Patriots” are planning the events next week.

“As evidenced by the peaceful facilitation of the Ben Shapiro event last Thursday night, the campus administration and the university as a whole are deeply committed to freedom of speech and to devoting extraordinary security and financial resources to protecting the ability of student organizations to host speakers without regard to the viewpoint expressed by the speaker,’’ said Mogulof in a statement.

At least nine people were arrested Thursday night related to protests over the appearance by Shapiro, a former Breitbart editor, however, the demonstrators were largely peaceful.

Some chanted against fascism, white supremacists and President Donald Trump. Others were holed up inside a student building, waving signs protesting the university's decision to allow Shapiro on campus.

Cal spent some $600,000 on security and other measures for the event.

Now, with just days before Free Speech Week is expected to kick off, there are still details to work out.

“We continue to hope that the student organization will meet its obligations and provide the campus and UCPD with the information needed to complete security arrangements,’’ said Mogulof.  ”The university cannot defend spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide security arrangements for events based on a schedule built on a long list of unconfirmed speakers and/or a press release issued by an external commercial enterprise.”

Mogulof said Monday that the events that were proposed for the 2,000-seat Zellerbach Hall and Wheeler Hall Auditorium will not take place because of three missed contract deadlines.

Also Monday, more than 200 Cal faculty, staff and graduate students have signed a petition calling for a complete boycott of all classes and campus activities while the events are underway. 

“Again, so many faculty here at Berkeley want to shut down their classes; want to stop the ability of so many students to learn, just to make a political statement," said Troy Warden, president of the Berkeley College Republicans.

The letter suggests that classes be canceled and that staff and students stay home. It also asks that if faculty do hold classes they not penalize students who don’t attend.

"I've spoken with so many of my faculty and peers here at UC Berkeley and they are under the honest impression, they earnestly believe that right wingers are going to come here an attack them, are going to deport them, reveal their immigration status, etc.," said Warden.

Here is the event schedule released by the university Monday:
• Sunday, noon-12:55 p.m., “Miss Elaine,” a Miami drag queen
• Sunday, 5-6:45 p.m., Lucian Wintrich, Lisa DePasquale and Chadwick Moore
• Monday, noon-12:55 p.m., Speech by Heather MacDonald. She tweeted Friday that “contrary to news reports, I have not been contacted about participating in Free Speech Week at @UCBerkeley.”
• Monday, 5- 7 p.m., Speeches by Monica Crowley and SABO.
• Monday at Anna Head Hall, 7:30-9:30 p.m., psychologist Jordan Peterson and James Damore.
• Tuesday in Lower Sproul Plaza, noon-12:55 p.m., speech by Michael Malice.
• Tuesday in Lower Sproul Plaza, 5-7 p.m., Speech by Katie Hopkins.  Milo Yiannopoulos interviews Erik Prince, Pamela Geller and David Horowitz.  The campus has informed the student organization that it may add speakers to this event if it chooses to do so, per campus policy.
• Wednesday, noon-12:55 p.m., Speech by Mike Cernovich
• Wednesday, 5:00-6:55 p.m.,  Speeches by Ariana Rowlands and Stellion Onufrei.