UC Berkeley professors request cancellation of Milo Yiannopoulos talk


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Twelve UC Berkeley professors sent a letter to Chancellor Nicholas Dirks requesting that campus administration cancel Berkeley College Republican’s event for Milo Yiannopoulos.

Calling his conduct “harassment, slander, defamation, and hate speech,” the letter cites examples of Yiannopoulos’s words and actions that the professors say violate UC Berkeley’s code of conduct as reasons to cancel Yiannopoulos’s talk Feb. 1. Since the letter was sent Jan. 3, nearly 90 additional professors have signed it, giving their support.

“We believe wholeheartedly in free speech and in the presentation of views that may be controversial or disturbing, politically or personally,” said David Landreth, one of the 12 professors who authored the letter, in an email. “However, Mr. Yiannopoulos’s public talks routinely veer into direct personal harassment of individuals; they often also call for such harassment and aim to incite it.”

The letter said women were referred to as “cunts” at Yiannopoulos’s talk at the University of West Virginia and transgender people were called “mentally ill” at his talk at the University of Delaware. As of July this year, Yiannopoulos was also banned from Twitter for encouraging his followers to attack an African American actress with hate speech, according to the letter.

At the University of Wisconsin, Yiannopoulos projected an image of a transgender student on a screen during his presentation, which was also being live broadcast onto the Breitbart News website, and began to “ridicule” and “vilify” her, causing the student to withdraw from the university, said the letter. This is similar to what the authors called “target cam,” where Yiannopoulos picks a student to display on his screen during his talks, another example of harassment.

The authors also questioned the cost of security for the event, asking in the letter how the estimated security costs of $10,000 will help the campus prevent harassment during the event.

“UCPD’s primary goal is the safety of the attendees and the speaker,” said UCPD Captain Alex Yao, the officer overseeing UCPD security for Yiannopoulos’s talk. “(We are) basically coming up with a basic security detail to ensure safety of the event, regardless of who the speaker is.”

The cost has not yet been finalized, but it is estimated that about 45 police officers will attend the event to handle crowd control and protest demonstrations, according to Yao. Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said in an email the campus will pay security costs not included in the basic security detail that may occur.

BCR did not wish to comment at this time, according to BCR treasurer David Craig. But according to Breitbart News, BCR sent a letter to Dirks in which it challenged the security fee, asserting that the fee is an attempt to prohibit the group from hosting Yiannopoulos. In the letter, BCR asked Dirks to waive the fee.

In response to the professors’ letter, Associate Chancellor Nils Gilman said the university would not engage in a “prior restraint of speech,” as the First Amendment prohibits the campus administration from restricting invited speakers based on their viewpoint.

The University may not engage in prior restraint of speech based on concern that a speaker’s message may trigger disruptions,” Gilman said in the letter. “We also note that at the heart of these constitutional rules is the objective of preventing opponents from effectively shutting down expressive activity that they don’t like, the ‘heckler’s veto’ as it is often known.”

Another letter, written by the same 12 professors and sent  Jan. 4, responded to Gilman by saying freedom of speech did not override the campus’s responsibility to protect students from harassment. It also continued to question the course of action the campus will take in the event harassment occurs.

“We expect that the campus administration will prevent a repeat of the (University of Wisconsin) event by defining conditions that will preclude the harassing behaviors that took place then — more like ‘ground rules’ than ‘security measures,’ ” Landreth said in an email. “We are eager to learn what those conditions might be.”

Contact Gibson Chu at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @thegibsonchu.

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  • charlesmhamm

    Someone needs to let Landreth and his colleagues know that the Constitution of the United States outranks the “Campus Code of Conduct”. Yes, it does. Sorry about that.

  • cschicago

    So Farrakahn was ok a know anti semite but yiannopolous is not? HYPOCRITES AT BERKELY

  • Dave

    They support free speech as long as it doesn’t conflict with their ideology.

  • Chris Piccio
  • ExposeThem511

    This doesn’t surprise me coming from the land of fruits and nuts who sink to new depths for Soros money. Scum of the earth.

  • 1Tanstaafl

    The riot tonight shows the ‘brown shirt’ thuggishness of the left.
    Why didn’t UC charge the thugs for thug-caused expenses? Maybe because the admins are censors of non-left speech.
    Time to fire the administrators and get some people in place who believe in Free Speech and individual rights.
    Has the so-called ACLU sought to protect the civil liberties of the students to hear and the speaker to speak…..or are they only for left speech?
    Sooooo tired of the UC support of thugs and opposition to free thought / speech

  • breezyoceanic92

    The reality is that some of my fellow Bears are salty and plan on causing a $7,000 fiasco.

    Michelle Obama said “go high” right? Maybe go get high instead? I’m serious. A lot of effort is being spent on preventing someone from speaking at an event that they don’t have to attend. YES YOU CAN simply go about your day without being in the next Alex Jones video or becoming a meme (no, I don’t like Alex Jones, but I read all news sources from left to right).

    You know there’s going to be trolls just waiting to make you look stupid on camera. Coexist means getting along. If you can’t get along, get a bong.

    We’re all equal, but we’re not all the same.

  • SamXie

    Louis Farakan has spoken here. Omar Bharghouti has spoken here. That kind of hate-speech is acceptable at Berkeley. Why not Milo’s?

  • Arty Comarty

    UC Berkeley

    Birthplace and now Deathplace of the free speech movement

  • Bemyguest

    So instead of inviting a speaker to counter Milo and give an opposing point of view they just want to shut down discussion?


  • Whatsa_matta_u

    How are his words going to hurt you? Wouldn’t it be better to allow him to speak and share his views? Let the free market of ideas decide whether he’s wrong ,right or just stupid. I don’t see how engaging in censorship is going to improve our understanding of each other or the world.

    • lspanker

      Lefties hate the free market because it allows others to make decisions for which those same lefties do not approve…

  • ValueLiberty

    Will these professors condemn those who harass the attendees?

  • Edward Keithly

    ***The authors also questioned the cost of security for the event, asking in the letter how the estimated security costs of $10,000 will help the campus prevent harassment during the event.***

    What? Do ya think beating violent Leftists with truncheons pays for itself?

    When security is tasked with kicking the snot of uppity punks, I want them to feel well-compensated for doing so…

  • Steven Phillips

    “We believe wholeheartedly in free speech as long as we agree with it.”

  • Weak!

  • stngythng

    Clearly Breitbart has sent it’s sycophants here to comment. Articles never have this many comments ….

    yeah, go for it.

  • Edward Devotion

    Afraid of a little free speech unless it meets your approval? Then lecture how others are intolerant. They are too smart to contemplate how out of touch they increasingly are, so they must censor it. They fool themselves.

  • David Stephenson

    I am hearing the boots of the academic SS marching down the hallways of UC Berkeley? No free speech say the professors? Do these idiots not realize they are making Orwell’s fictional 1984 come true in our times?

  • Richard Saunders

    It isn’t surprising that the intellectual vanguard of the proletariat AKA Cal university professors want to shut down Milo.

    After all, these Marxist thugs have one credo: “Free speech for me, not for thee.”

    The home of the free speech movement wants to shut down free speech.

    Marxists, what is not to hate.

  • Eric

    They say we are worried about violence and harassment. Seems like the only ones doing the harassing and violence is the protesters as it’s been shown across the country. If these so called schools of higher education want to stop violence and harassment start arresting these protesters that start violence. If the protesters don’t want to hear him speak then don’t buy a ticket.

    • David Stephenson

      And all 500 seats have been sold out for months.

    • blm thugs should be charged with voter intimidation for all the shakedowns they do

  • garyfouse

    My God is Dirks still the chancellor? I’m sure he ius hiding under his desk-or using that escape hatch he had built.

  • garyfouse

    I note that one of the signees, Judith Butler, makes her share of speaking appearances that many disagree with (Israel). She should know better about freedom of speech.

  • roccolore

    Democrats are fascists who hate diverse opinions.

  • Kurt VanderKoi

    UC Berkeley staff should not have a problem with Milo Yiannopoulos speaking. After all domestic terrorist Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza spoke at the UC Berkeley School of Law lecture hall.


    • garyfouse

      Don’;t forget Louis Farrakhan. If he can speak at UCB, anybody can.

      • Arafat

        Alicia Garza, Louis Farrakhan, no doubt they would have welcomed Ahmadinejad and even Stalin if given the chance.

    • Spikier Than Thou

      If she were really a domestic terrorist, why would you mention her as ‘co-founder of BLM’ (which makes her look good) instead of telling us about this supposed terrorism?

    • Iain Riule

      Domestic terrorist?! Was that when she blocked the BART door? Oh dear, did that hurt your feelings my poor liddle sh1tflake?

  • laura

    Would these agenda driven academics find fault with Charlie Hebo defamation of Muhammad?

    Counter extremist Maajid Nawaz explaining why free speech is not negotiable. The “but” these activists demand we adhere to moves the “line in the sand” towards totalitarianism.

    Maajid Nawaz – A Line in the Sand

  • plasmacutter

    To those who are students there and value freedom of speech and wish to prevent totalitarianism from rising in the United States, please do follow the link to the document and make note of the professor’s names.

    These intellectual bigots hate the most basic freedoms upon which this nation and the west are founded, are doing all they can to brainwash those under their tutelage to be “activists” against those freedoms, and should bear public humiliation for their active efforts to undermine them.

    Thanks to their malevolent efforts, twice as many millennials as previous generations (a disturbing 40%) believe free speech should be shut down to silence dissent against their partisan agendas.

    This is, of course, the point of Milo’s tour, to draw these people out of the woodwork.

    Politics is universally annoying, and it follows that if the disagreement over ideas did not rise to the level of “offense”, there would be no motivation to form political parties. It’s clear from their reaction these snowflakes are simply incapable of defending their ludicrous ideas in open debate, and this letter is a move on their part to ruthlessly crush dissent and avoid the cleansing light of the sun being cast upon their ridiculous assertions.

  • the tolerant left strikes again!

  • Im_Rick_James

    What a bunch of f#$king crybabies.

    • George Fletcher

      wrote this down below but i think my comment got deleted so i’ll say it again:

      I voted Trump and ive always thought Milo is a genius at manipulating the left into revealing their hypocricy, but I do think Milo went **way** over the line with the crossdresser or whatever at Michigan. Putting a students face up and making fun of them. I actually watched the video to see if they were exaggerating and thought it was pretty f*cked up. I don’t approve of his/her/whatever’s lifestyle. I agree with Milo that telling people the truth to their face is “tough love” and makes their life better, but putting the student up on a big screen and asking ‘do you know about this guy, chris johnson? ewww, let’s all laugh at this freak.’ in front of hundreds of thousands of people is just cruel.

      Milo claims that confronting fat people and trans people and whatever is good because it helps them be better and i do agree. kids these days cannot handle criticism and we can’t all just shrug our shoulders and give up on confronting our flaws, but there is a difference between confronting someone in person vs. singling them out and cutting them down in front of an audience of literally hundreds of thousands so that everyone can have a laugh.

      if we treat Milo like a saint who can do no wrong then now we are the hypocrites. we have a big opportunity in this country to lead with Trump from the moral high ground and can’t let the left take that back from us with this bullsh*t.

      I know Milo will never apologize but in this case it would be the right thing to do, then move on, and stick with what he’s saying that makes sense (about race and victimhood and free speech in this country) instead of picking on helpless mentally ill kids and getting rich in the process. America needs love and unity to move forwards.

      • Nunya Beeswax

        Well, I don’t see how anyone can look at Yiannopoulos and not think he’s an a-hole. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be allowed to speak. Besides, if he’s an anti-Semitic cryptofascist or whatever, isn’t sunlight the best disinfectant? Let him put his views out into the sight of the public where they can be debated and countered.

        • Iain Riule

          I think Nunya has it right on this one.

        • Dave

          he is jewish

          • Nunya Beeswax

            I’m not sure how that means he can’t say anti-Semitic things.

    • Bob of Bonsall

      Not crybabies, but Crybullies.

  • Count Ease

    Before commenting on these letters, I suggest you actually read them:

    • Bob

      Read them. These “scholars” are woefully ignorant about the Constitution, and especially the First Amendment. I doubt any of them could pass a US citizenship test.

    • laura

      You mean the letters copying a script directly from the Berkeley Antifada, a vigilante group.

  • Alex

    Whiny liberal profs should GTFO!

  • David Konerding

    If you truly believe in Free Speech, you cannot oppose this guy giving a speech at Berkeley. This is true even if the guy says things which you consider reprehensible. The only exceptions I can see are to people who are actively inciting violence.

  • ShadrachSmith

    What does the 1st amendment say about this situation?

    • Count Ease

      The 1st amendment does not protect behaviour that falls under the definition of harassment (as e.g. per campus codes of conduct) .. that’s the case that these letters make.

      • Changster12

        Except Milo speaking isn’t harassment. He doesn’t actively go out and persecute people or tells his followers to do the same. He proudly states his claims and backs them up with facts, evidence, statistics, and logic, and knows that the PC police gets all butthurt over him not saying things in the nicest way.

        • Spikier Than Thou

          If he’s not actively persecuting people, who exactly is it who goes to the trouble of digging up old pictures of his critics to put on the big screen? Who was it who spent a great deal of time a couple years back trying to get his followers to persecute game developers because he felt that there were too many feminists in gaming? And most importantly, why does Milo let them use his name to do it?

          > backs them up with facts, evidence, statistics, and logic,

          While he’s quite good at linking to sources, merely having a lot of links doesn’t necessarily prove something true. He’s been seen citing both Encyclopedia Dramatica and MoonMetropolis, for instance. He also has been caught withholding important information about his own involvement in articles, both on his own blog and when writing for Breitbart.

      • what has he said thats harassment? does he go around like the makeshift sharia police in the UK and france who harass women for not dressing islamicly?

        • Spikier Than Thou

          While I’m not sure that these ‘sharia police’ actually exist (I’ve never actually seen ’em, and the one time I saw a video purporting to depict them assaulting a woman, it was a /pol/ hoax – the assault was real, but the attackers were clearly not sharia police, given that they were as immodestly dressed as the victim), yes, that *IS* basically what Milo does. His very first Gamergate article was a demand for a popular uprising to expel promiscuous feminist programmers from game development.

      • plasmacutter

        The 1st amendment does not protect behaviour that falls under the definition of harassment

        It seems you need to go back to high-school civics.

        The first amendment applies to all speech short of direct incitement to violence.

        There is no “right to not be offended”. There is no “hate speech” exemption. There are no ifs, no ands, and no buts to this. Free speech is a right because when you foreclose verbal debate it makes physical confrontation inevitable. For reference, see what is going on in Europe.

        This post of yours is absolutely frightening and Orwellian. The regressives have done an impeccable job brainwashing you.

        If you really want to prevent nazism and their ilk, you need to learn how it comes to be. I recommend Jordan B Peterson’s podcasts or youtube videos on this subject. He has dedicated his life to studying totalitarian regimes and how they come to be from the macropolitical down to the individual level.

        P.S.: “harassment” is the latest newspeak for “criticism that destroys my bigoted leftist talking-point”. It’s a non-word.

        • Spikier Than Thou

          >The first amendment applies to all speech short of direct incitement to violence.

          I suggest you put down the high school civics textbook and read some actual legal opinions written by actual judges in First Amendment cases. The First Amendment is very strong (which is as it should be!), but our legal system does not consider its impact unlimited. Competent courts have upheld convictions on grounds as diverse as:

          Distribution of classified information.
          Disclosure of trade secrets.
          Defamation (slander and libel)
          Making terroristic threats

          While I’m sure there are some people who claim that they are being harrassed whenever someone disagrees with them (though slightly fewer of them since MoonMetropolis got arrested), that doesn’t mean that everyone who mentions harrassment is being oversensitive. Filing a false police report so that armed cops show up at someone’s house is not an argument; it does not disprove leftist talking points. Threatening to kill someone is not an argument. It does not disprove leftist talking points. Breaking into someone’s server and publishing their source code is not an argument. It does not disprove leftist talking points.

          • plasmacutter

            Filing a false police report so that armed cops show up at someone’s house is not an argument; it does not disprove leftist talking points. Threatening to kill someone is not an argument. It does not disprove leftist talking points. Breaking into someone’s server and publishing their source code is not an argument. It does not disprove leftist talking points.

            No, they ARE leftist talking points, as exemplified by the likes of antifa and most recently deployed against anyone who expressed a willingness do perform for Trump’s inauguration.

            Riots, violence, threats against the speaker, and in the absence of the ability to do that, threats against their employers or payment processors. Swatting, mass defamation campaigns using media operatives as “organizations” like the ADL to smear wide swaths of people as “nazis” for things like using a cartoon frog.

            They are the totalitarians they claim to condemn, and you’re one for supporting them!

          • Spikier Than Thou

            Okay, I think we’re having a little communication problem here. ‘Talking points’ are memes or concepts that you’re instructed to push to try to convince others of things. For example, ‘your video must mention the Nemesis system’ is a talking point. “Refer to BLM as a domestic terrorist group” is a talking point. “Mention that he smeared a Gold Star family” is a talking point.

            Swatting and breaking into servers are not talking points; they are actions. (Death threats could be talking points, but only if I assume a much higher level of discipline within Gamergate than I’ve seen evidence of.)

            The notion that swatting, threats, and cracking are leftist tactics is not supported by the evidence. The swattings that I’ve taken the time to confirm appeared to be carried out in retaliation for statements that were perceived as impairing Milo’s and Gamergate’s social standing. I find it difficult to believe that the left wants Milo to have more followers on Twitter, much less that there are many leftists who would be willing to risk jail time to raise Milo’s stature. Death threats received by leftists have been tracked to right-wing extremists. The Polytron cracker claimed a pro-Gamergate political agenda, and the stolen data was subsequently published by rightists. The data exfiltrated in the DNC hacks was not publicized until after it could no longer help Bernie win the nomination, which seems an unlikely decision for any leftist to make – if you think Hillary is too far right, why help her get that much closer to the throne?

            As for mass defamation campaigns: Milo attempted to convince the world that gamers were radical antifeminists who could not stand to see women in power in the tech industry. That is a mass defamation campaign, and one that actually WORKED all too well. Meanwhile, the ADL?

            >”The designation does not apply to all Pepe memes because most of them are not “bigoted” in nature, the ADL said. You’ll likely know one when you see one.”

            So basically, the ADL says that the reader can tell the difference between a racist pepe and a nonracist pepe? I suppose if you twist it enough you can claim that the ADL is connecting rarity and racism, but that neglects to consider the fact that the majority of individual pepes are not that frequently posted – and thus, ironically enough, there are more rare pepes than common ones.

            You also bring up zealot infiltrators. Does that mean Comey is now a leftist? And pressure against payment processors or employers? Boycott Goal Of The Day is now leftist in your mind?

          • plasmacutter

            TL;DR, don’t care.

            You defend a democratic party that has descended to an utterly self-evident and proudly-declared mixture of racism and maoism, and that’s all I need to know.

            Now say it with me Mr. “red guard”: President Trump

            At the rate you’re going in justifying everything I’ve detailed, you can look forward to 8 years of this, not just 4.

          • Spikier Than Thou

            If you’re pretending you didn’t read what you’re replying to, why should anyone take your arguments seriously? They’re just standard hard-right talking points that were debunked long before your bosses assigned ’em to you.

      • Bob

        You believe a public university’s campus code of conduct trumps the 1st Amendment? Please tell me you’re a foreign student. SMH

      • garyfouse

        Since when do college campuses interpret the 1st amendment? Even hate speech is protected under the first amendment.

      • Richard Saunders

        You leftists are a joke. Who is being harassed? Nobody is forced to listen to Milo, goober.

      • ValueLiberty

        The Supreme Court has been very clear about protecting free speech -specifically unpopular political speech.

        It’s sad that a 100 professors signed on to stiffle free speech.

    • garyfouse

      It says he has a right to speak.

      • saucetin

        It says he can’t be JAILED for speaking. It doesn’t specify an esteemed venue.

        • garyfouse

          Esteemed venue? Not sure what that is. If UCB were to stop him from speaking then they cannot claim to support free speech. Is that not what a university is to stand for?

          Louis Farrakhan spoke at UCB and he had the right to do so. if UCB were to stop Yoannopoulos from speaking then it will be clear that they pick and choose who can speak.

          • saucetin

            Do you know what a venue is?
            Do you know what esteemed means? HLMGTFY — ‘here, let me google these for you’ (& ‘false equivalency’ re louis kahn)

            Milo can stand on a milk crate many spots on campus, like the Hate Man does.

  • Curtis Jones

    Fascist Liberals, Nothing has changed!

  • Shirkhan

    So happy this letter was written.

    • plasmacutter

      If you’re going to espouse totalitarian censorship, at least use your real name so you can be found and shamed.

      You’ll notice the police presence is required not because of the danger posed by Milo or those who might want to hear him but by people like you who wish to violently shut him down.

      If you dislike fascism look long and hard in the mirror.

      • Spikier Than Thou

        >use your real name so you can be found and shamed.
        Funny how quickly pseudonymous ‘free speech’ activists go from ‘people have a right to say what they want!’ to ‘I need a way to punish you’, isn’t it, Mr. Cutter?

        > police presence is required not because of the danger posed by Milo or those who might want to hear him

        Nothing in the Daily Cal article supports that claim, and I saw nothing in the letter to back it up. Indeed, replying to ‘plz no milo here’ letters with

        > “I can assure you that the University and UCPD are highly attentive to safety concerns and will not hesitate to act to ensure the security and protection of campus community members, as well as the public at large.”

        makes no sense at all unless the author considers ‘protecting people from Milo and his supporters’ part of campus security’s job. Further, when campus staff mention that security is needed to protect attendees, you must remember that attending a talk does not necessarily imply support of the speaker. Many of the leftists assaulted at Trump rallies were attendees, same as the people who assaulted them were.

        >people like you who wish to violently shut him down

        If someone preferred violence, wouldn’t they WANT Milo to show up? Kind of hard to violently shut someone down if you can’t find them.

        • plasmacutter

          free speech’ activists go from ‘people have a right to say what they want!’ to ‘I need a way to punish you’

          Rules for Radicals #4: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

          I didn’t make this rule book, YOU did.

          muh TL;DR mountain of verbal diarrhea justifying bigoted censorship of milo


          • Spikier Than Thou


            Where, exactly, have I called for everyone to post under their real names? ‘Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules’ doesn’t mean ‘write your own rulebook, then whine a lot that the enemy doesn’t follow them’.

            Or are you trying to imply that it’s wrong for me to make fun of hypocritical demands because supposedly Alinsky once said calling out hypocrisy was a good tactic?

            BTW, the Great Lakes have been fresh water ever since you moved away from the St. Lawrence watershed.

  • laura

    “Tolerance” but…..

    the regressive left makes liberals look bad.

    • Changster12

      Modern political liberalism is intellectual anathema. The classical liberals are the actual free-thinkers of society.

      • Lukas Benke

        That is correct.

        If you want to know what true Liberalism is, and how it is different to modern “Liberalism”, you need, no, you have to read Milton Friedman’s “Capitalism and Freedom”.

        You may not agree with everything in the book, I don’t, but it clearly shows the difference between true, original Liberalism, and whatever that is what people today call “Liberalism”, at least in the USA.

  • jim hoch

    “We believe wholeheartedly in free speech and in the presentation of views that may be controversial or disturbing, politically or personally,” They seem to have an honesty problem.

    • Nunya Beeswax

      “…except when we are right and someone else is wrong.”

      • Arafat

        We want to hear what conforms to our view, and only this, and we support the First Amendment too. Do I have this right?