Most speakers invited for ‘Free Speech Week’ at UC Berkeley unconfirmed

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Although Milo Yiannopoulos released a full list of speakers Thursday that are scheduled to attend “Free Speech Week” at UC Berkeley in the coming weeks, both the campus and the Berkeley Patriot have revealed that not all the speakers have been confirmed.

Yiannopoulos issued a press release naming the speakers who he said were confirmed to speak at the UC Berkeley campus from Sept. 24-27. Prominent speakers on the list include former White House chief strategist and Breitbart editor Steve Bannon and Ann Coulter, whose previous campus event was postponed. Not all the speakers on the list, however, have been confirmed.

Charles Murray, a libertarian conservative political scientist, posted a tweet Friday saying that he has “never heard of this event.”

“I was never contacted by the organizers of this event,” Murray said in an email. “The inclusion of my name in the list of speakers was done without my knowledge or permission. I will add that I would never under any circumstances appear at an event that included Milo Yiannopoulos.”

Pranav Jandhyala, news editor for the Berkeley Patriot, said that the publication was recently made aware of this issue and is in the process of dealing with it.

According to Jandhyala, Yiannopoulos was the primary person organizing the invitations for speakers, so the Berkeley Patriot “had not been in contact with most of the individual speakers.”

“The Berkeley Patriot was under the impression that those speakers were confirmed and it’s seeming like some speakers didn’t know that they were invited,” Jandhyala said. “That’s a big issue and we’re going to try to figure this out with Milo and his team.”

Jandhyala added that some of the speakers “have been unsettled by the threat of violence,” but that the Berkeley Patriot is working to replace them.

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said that only three people on the list have been confirmed by the campus. He added, however, that he cannot release the names of the three individuals at this time because they have reached out to the police department to discuss security arrangements.

“The student group organization expects the campus to spend extraordinary amounts of money but we will and cannot do that based on a press release from an external enterprise,” Mogulof said.

Jandhyala, however, called the campus “uncommunicative” in organizing this event, adding that the Berkeley Patriot is still waiting to hear back from the campus about a clause in their contract.

Mogulof said Ben Shapiro’s event Thursday night was “safe and successful” because the Berkeley College Republicans, who organized the event, did several things: they signed a contract with the venue, paid the venue fees, secured insurance for their event, had a contract with the speaker that they shared with the campus and provided to the police department all the information the police department needs to put the measures in place. He emphasized that the Berkeley Patriot “has not done a single one of those things” at this time.

“The main thing is that time is running out,” Mogulof said. “Very soon there just simply will be no options open.”

Chantelle Lee is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ChantelleHLee.

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  • Sandy Hayashi Minner

    Please require that the Cal student group reimburse the university for whatever costs are incurred for security for this event. I don’t want any of my donations (multiple family members are alumni) or my tax dollars to go toward the cost of hosting this.

    • Rollie

      Your blame is misplaced. The student groups and the speakers you dislike are not the ones responsible for the needed security. It is those who choose violence and mayhem over peaceful protest, who are the cause of the high cost of security. Get them to behave and you’ll find the cost of “this event” will be pretty much confined to the electric bill.

      • y_p_w

        No. The cost of any event is going to include an actual venue rental fee and a venue security fee based on the number of planned attendees. They don’t charge different student groups differently based on how controversial the speaker is or what kind of protest they think will occur outside the venue.

        The unreimbursed costs for campus security is almost always done as a preventative measure. They’re spending this even when some controversial figure is talking about speaking outside where there is no rental fee.

        • Rollie

          We agree, but you explained security costs much better than I did. My comment also meant to argue against what I perceived as someone’s desire for tax dollars to support speakers only selectively, justified by disparate security costs which are not the fault of the speakers themselves.

          • y_p_w

            Still – they’re not punishing the student organizations based on their political positions or for picking controversial speakers. That’s not the way the University operates. I’m pretty sure they wish the controversy (and the consequential police preparations) would just go away so they could spend their money on something other than paying police overtime and for reimbursing other police agencies.

            Some of these conservative student groups have claimed that they were being singled out, forced to pay more, or given poor options. This particular group made some claim that the payment is forthcoming, but on Friday was their 3rd deadline to complete all paperwork and to receive payment. On top of that, the University is hesitant to commit security resources (at their own expense) given that they can’t even confirm that most of the people listed as participating will be there. There was one guy who said there was no chance that he’d participate in anything where Milo Yiannopoulos is featured. Earlier this year one group apparently requested a venue a week before a planned visit, and then claimed victimhood when the University couldn’t meet their demands.

          • Rollie

            I wasn’t referring to the university, but to the original commenter here who seems to want her tax dollars withheld selectively. I’d argue that the university itself has been selective against disfavored speakers in a few sneaky, political ways, but so far as I can tell, the cost argument hasn’t been one of them. (I can’t say the same for the city mayor.)

            Of course conservative groups are obligated to follow fair procedures just as any other group must. It’s disingenuous when one of them fails to do so, but at the same time claims that it’s being picked on for its beliefs. All the more reason for the administration, including Chancellor Christ, to adopt an officially neutral stance on issues, in order to remove any opportunity for procedural failures to be characterized as institutional bias.

          • y_p_w

            Well – there’s a ton of confusion as to what the issue is with payment.

            Apparently this shindig is on, but the list of events shows one smaller indoor venue. I thought that they wanted Zellerbach and Wheeler, which are the ones that cost the most money to reserve. Apparently they didn’t fork over the fund for those and will need to settle for what they have.

            The problem I have is that once something bad happens, the blame game starts.

          • Rollie

            Well said. Hey, maybe the university should publish the forms and applications, and the file notes for planned events. It might make dull reading when everything goes right, but could be very informative when something bad happens and the blame game starts up.

          • y_p_w

            He’s finally claiming that he’s made the payments, but they were received today, well after the third and final deadline.

            http://www.berkeleyside.com/2017/09/18/zellerbach-isnt-available-milo-yiannopoulos-free-speech-week-berkeley/
            But the money came in after the drop-dead deadline on Friday and will be returned to Yiannopoulos, even though the Berkeley Patriot group had sent in a signed contract by the deadline, said Mogulof. That was the third deadline the group missed, he said.

            Apparently one of the things they wanted (and the University wouldn’t agree to) was that there could be a full refund if the organizers cancelled.

          • Rollie

            “Apparently one of the things they wanted (and the University wouldn’t
            agree to) was that there could be a full refund if the organizers
            cancelled”

            Nothing should be negotiable on a per-event basis anyway. One set of written rules for everyone, no bending. Security measures excepted–those must be considered in actual contaxt.

          • y_p_w

            Whether or not “tax dollars” actually go to any of these police responses is a complicated issue. Most definitely when the city of Berkeley is preparing for the possibility of fighting spilling onto its jurisdiction off campus, they are paying for the police response with tax dollars. When Joey Gibson was planning on speaking at Crissy Field, San Francisco and the federal government

            What the University of California does is a bit trickier. They’re not 100% public, and these days the majority of their funding comes from outside of taxpayer funds. They have various funding that gets devoted to protest responses, but I heard that they blew through the $250,000 set aside for it quickly this year. In any case, this is something that the groups renting the venue aren’t going to be forced to pay.

          • Rollie

            “In any case, this is something that the groups renting the venue aren’t going to be forced to pay.”

            As it should be. Good explanation.

  • J C Miller

    Those of you who think free speech should be shut down because your feelings are being hurt will find you are unnecessarily making enemies with the broader voting public. And if you think that’s inconsequential watch what happens to funding and admission policies. I want all these folks from antifa to nazi skinheads where I can see and hear them. They become uber-dangerous when you push them underground. If you want to incite real violence keep trying to stifle free speech. By the way, this hormonally driven notion that you and you alone own this campus is insane. The campus is a public institution owned by the state of California and the voting public who do not want their rights of free speech undermined by you or self righteous academics. If necessary, this will become both a police and national guard problem. One way or another, free speech always wins.

    • CSears

      You didn’t read the article, did you. It isn’t about free speech.
      it’s about Cal Patriot’s inability to fill out paperwork.
      It’s also about Ca Patriot’s lying about contracting with their speakers
      who are kinda upset about about that.

      Basically, it’s about you: lazy conservatives who can’t be bothered to do the work.
      And you wonder why immigrants are taking your job.

      • J C Miller

        I read the article, pal. You can’t see beyond your hairline to the larger point. You’re reduced to the level of characterization. Free speech isn’t about political label, conservative or otherwise. It’s about your freedom to call me lazy and my freedom to call you a moron. Address the larger point and you may be saved from your own idiocy.

        • CSears

          Sorry for hurting your feelings, cupcake. You can call me a moron but at least I read the article. At Berkeley, if you don’t read the material you’d get slaughtered. You demonstrate that you read the material by responding to the material. It doesn’t matter if you imagine you have some ‘larger point’ to make.

          Now as for this ‘larger point’ that you imagine you have, no, free speech was in fact on display at Zellerbach Thursday night where Shapiro said his piece, got paid and went home. His speech was lightly attended, despite tickets being free and a standby line. Most of your ilk was just too lazy to show up. But you can read (or not) what he said here:

          http://www.dailywire.com/news/21144/complete-transcript-ben-takes-berkeley-daily-wire

          I do notice that none of your ilk is quoting Shapiro. Why is that?

          • J C Miller

            Oh C,

            Thank you for the kind words.

            No doubt your political and anthropological insights rival Wolin and Marcuse; your set theory and logic skills rival Cantor, Frege and Russell; your nuanced language skills can shed light on Flaubert’s insights into the 1848 Revolution or the metamorphosis of Onlenin’s compassion for oppressed nationalities in The Cossacks. No doubt you can absorb by osmosis, through that rock you call a pillow, Newton’s latin Principia, Feynman’s three volumes, Principia Mathematica; and, no doubt, you can regurgitate your insights about all of the above and the entire cosmology of human knowledge in the most flaccid fictional or non-fictional prose or algorithmically and statistically (both frequentist and Bayesian) instantly with your encyclopedic grasp of Python, Java, C#, C++, Haskell, Lisp, Mathmeatica, Matlab, and etc. No doubt in my mind.

            Therefore, I’m delighted we can avoid a pissing contest about who has the the better critical thinking skills.

            And, I’m so glad we’re friends now. I’d be mortified if I couldn’t show my face on campus again because you and your ilk didn’t like me. You’re my huckleberry.

          • J C Miller

            Oh C,

            Now who has hurt feelings. I didn’t know you worked at the Daily California as their censor. Kind of like Nicholas II’s Third Section. We know what happened to them. But I guess that’s what happens when you bury free speech. I’m still your Huckleberry.

          • CSears

            No, I’m not the Daily Cal’s censor but I came this close to applying as a copy editor back in the day. And I don’t know what happened to ‘them’ and but name dropping now won’t change the regrade. It is what it is.

          • J C Miller

            Well the censor at the Daily Cal, like my partner, may have thought my post while civil was a bit harsh. You might actually have enjoyed it. In any case, to your prior post, what Shapiro and his ilk have to say is of far less importance to me than their right to say it. For me it’s a first principal. I don’t subscribe to the likes of Bannon or Coulter, though some of their ideas may have merit. But, I unequivocally defend their right or the right of the worst anarchists or nazis to say what they have to say. In fact I pay attention on the off chance I may one day have to face off against them. You never know.

          • CSears

            No one, certainly not me, certainly not the UCB administration, is questioning Shapiro’s or Coulter’s right to say their piece. Both have been here before. (We do get to say ours though.) Shapiro came, spoke, got paid and left. You are imagining things and then disagreeing with that, a Don Quixote charging at a strawman.

            Have at it. Ann Coulter, Steve Bannon and Milo ain’t a gonna show up if they don’t a get paid. These Cal Patriots have shown they can’t run a lemonade stand, let alone file some documents with the bureaucracy. If you read the article above, you’ll find that Charles Murray who at least would be interesting to listen to, is kind’ve annoyed by having his name attached to this event.

            However it is the Cal Patriots right to complain like stuck pigs about their free speech.
            Whatever.

  • J C Miller

    Those of you who think free speech should be shut down because your feelings are being hurt will find you are unnecessarily making enemies with the broader voting public. And if you think that’s inconsequential watch what happens to funding and admission policies. I want all these folks from antifa to nazi skinheads where I can see and hear them. They become uber-dangerous when you push them underground. If you want to incite real violence keep trying to stifle free speech. By the way, this hormonally driven notion that you and you alone own this campus is insane. The campus is a public institution owned by the state of California and the voting public who do not want their rights of free speech undermined by you, self righteous academics or self-appointed censors at the Daily Cal. If necessary, this will become both a police and national guard problem. One way or another, free speech always wins.

  • ESPM360

    It is sad many of today’s college students are fighting for less free speech rights. Goodbye freedom.

  • Brett Klein

    Does anyone know how hundreds of available floor-level seats came to be empty during Shapiro’s speech?

    • CSears

      Capacity for Zellerbach is 2,689 and the administration cut that in half for security reasons. That ‘half’ was sold out but then only 600-700 (as reported by Berkeleyside) bothered to show up. So I think we can conclude that people didn’t sit in those seats.

      • Brett Klein

        I wonder what price the no-shows had paid for their tickets.

        • CSears

          Free and standby was available. So for all the fuss, this was lightly attended.

          https://events.berkeley.edu/?event_ID=111345&date=2017-09-14&tab=all_events

          • Brett Klein

            I heard a TV news report that the school blocked standbys from getting in. I wonder whether that report was correct.

          • CSears

            Haven’t heard that and I kinda doubt it. BCR would have blown that up. The standby line was advertised by YAF and Berkeley Events beforehand.

      • the devil

        Better question; Out of 40,000 students at Berkeley, how many were interested in this sideshow?

  • s randall

    Since it’s a fact that the Administration is spending a lot of time and effort planning security for these events, the Berkeley Patriot group can’t just make stuff up as it goes along. It isn’t fair to the campus community either, as the the Student Learning Center, the Student Union and Eshleman are not available for use during these events.

    • the devil

      That’s cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face.