Berkeley College Republicans cancel David Horowitz event, citing estimated low turnout

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Update 04/11/17: This article has been updated to reflect additional information from the campus and BCR Internal Vice President Pieter Sittler.

In a since deleted tweet, Berkeley College Republicans announced that it is canceling its campus event with controversial conservative author David Horowitz because of difficulties with the campus.

A press release from the David Horowitz Freedom Center alleged that campus administration and UCPD are diminishing Horowitz’s audience by instructing BCR not to inform students about event details such as the location. According to Pieter Sittler, internal vice president of BCR, the BCR member who sent out the Tweet citing difficulties with campus was unauthorized to do so.

In a letter to the campus administration, Sittler wrote that the organization chose to cancel the event because of its high cost and expected low turnout.

“We thank the school for being willing to spend money on additional security, especially in times of budgetary constraints at public universities,” Sittler wrote in the email.

In his press release, Horowitz is quoted as saying that campus administration has “taken a page out of Orwell.”

“Administrators have banned Horowitz from speaking on the campus proper and have assigned him a facility half a mile away,” the release alleges. “Administrators insisted Horowitz could speak only at 1PM when afternoon classes are starting and most students would have difficulty attending.”

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof denied the allegations, emphasizing that the campus has done nothing to try to keep the timing and location of the event secret. Mogulof said BCR insisted that, in light of the fiery Yiannopoulos protest, the campus take necessary action to provide appropriate security for Horowitz’s appearance — a security assessment that is conducted before every event.

Campus administration made decisions about the event’s location and timing based solely on UCPD’s recommendations of how to mitigate risk and ensure that the event would take place as planned, according to Mogulof.

Mogulof said that after Yiannopoulos’ event was canceled Feb. 1, UCPD conducted a review of the planning and security arrangements for the event, which found that the timing and location of the event play a significant role in ensuring the public’s safety.

“This (time and location of the event) has absolutely nothing to do with the views or perspectives of the speaker. This has absolutely nothing to do with the identity of the student group,” Mogulof said. “This is solely about providing safety and security for those who want to attend, those who want to lawfully protest and for the speaker.”

Contact Carina Zhao at [email protected].

Clarification(s):
A previous version of this article may have implied that UCPD officially chose the time and location of the David Horowitz event. In fact, the campus administration chose the event’s time and location based solely on UCPD’s recommendations, according to UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Berkeley College Republicans distributed a flyer alleging that the campus was stifling their free speech. In fact, David Horowitz’s media team distributed a press release with these allegations.