Berkeley Patriot alleges UC Berkeley ignored request to subsidize ‘Free Speech Week’ costs

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Simran Sarin/Staff

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The Berkeley Patriot alleged that the UC Berkeley administration ignored its requests for the campus to subsidize the reservation and staffing costs for “Free Speech Week,” resulting in the publication missing the campus’s three deadlines for signed contracts and payments.

On Saturday, the campus announced that the Berkeley Patriot lost both Zellerbach and Wheeler halls as venues for Free Speech Week because it failed to submit sufficient payments by its Friday deadline — the third deadline the publication has missed to turn in the necessary documents. But Pranav Jandhyala, news editor for the Berkeley Patriot, alleged that the campus did not give the Berkeley Patriot “deadlines.” Instead, he alleged, the campus was involved in negotiations with the Berkeley Patriot to subsidize the cost of the event.

Jandhyala said the Berkeley Patriot was asking the campus to subsidize part of the cost for Free Speech Week, given that it subsidized the cost for Berkeley College Republicans’ Ben Shapiro event. He alleged that when the campus announced a deadline for the Berkeley Patriot to submit the necessary forms for the event, the Berkeley Patriot would respond and ask about the cost being subsidized and the campus would not respond.

“We were trying to figure out with the university why they chose to subsidize the cost of one speaker and not another,” Jandhyala said. “We don’t expect the entire cost to be subsidized. … (But) they can’t pick and choose which speakers (to subsidize). … We thought that was unfair.”

According to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof, however, the campus had already refused the Berkeley Patriot’s initial request for the campus to subsidize the cost of Free Speech Week. Mogulof added that although the Berkeley Patriot had repeatedly stated that they took issue with the campus administration’s refusal to subsidize the costs, the group still signed the contracts.

The costs of BCR’s Ben Shapiro event Thursday were subsidized, Mogulof said, because Chancellor Carol Christ wanted to challenge the “false narrative” that UC Berkeley would not allow conservative or libertarian speakers on campus.

“They were asked to sign a contract that is identical — that BCR signed — that is identical to the contract the campus (itself) would sign if they wanted to use Zellerbach,” Mogulof said. “They want preferential treatment. They will not receive it.”

In addition to subsidization negotiations, Jandhyala said that the Berkeley Patriot wanted a clause in their contract that would absolve the group from any potential damage on campus that could result from Free Speech Week, and alleged that this same clause was in the contract for BCR’s event with Yiannopoulos in February, as BCR did not have to pay for damages from the event. Mogulof, however, said this clause was not in BCR’s contract.

The campus only covered the damages and security fee costs for BCR’s Yiannopoulos event in February because the actual event was canceled, Mogulof said, and most of the damages that occurred were outside of the venue the group had reserved.

In a video posted to Yiannopoulos’ website Monday, Yiannopoulos displayed screencaps of emails from the insurance company Philadelphia Insurance Companies, which works with student groups within the UC system, showing that the company had declined to provide coverage for Free Speech Week. Yiannopoulos also alleged that the campus has been trying to prevent the event by avoiding the Berkeley Patriot’s calls and emails.

Mogulof also released a list of speakers confirmed by the Berkeley Patriot in an email sent Monday, with some of the speakers from Yiannopoulos’ Thursday press release still listed, such as Erik Prince and InfoWars radio show host Mike Cernovich. The new speaker list, however, no longer includes Ann Coulter or Steve Bannon.

Several of the events during Free Speech Week will take place on the Savio Steps and Lower Sproul Plaza, according to Mogulof. One event on Sept. 25 is scheduled to take place in Anna Head Alumnae Hall, and Mogulof added in his email that the Berkeley Patriot will not be able to change this reservation because there is not “sufficient time left” for UCPD to make necessary security arrangements.

If the Berkeley Patriot are unable to complete the necessary steps to hold its remaining reservations, Mogulof added, there is nothing to prevent the publication from seeking to reschedule the events to a later date.

“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,” Mogulof said in his email. “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.”

Contact Chantelle Lee and Ashley Wong at [email protected].

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  • This campus is too progressive to tolerate hate speech. We need to stop the events ASAP

    • Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho

      This is hate speech, by my standards.

  • Jordon Hayward

    Unless your completely willing to ignore reality its plainly obvious they are trying to use a web of bureaucracy to derail the event.

    If your one of these people persecuting people on the right. Its entirely possible that a reversal of the power structure will occur at some point especially if a catalyzing event takes place.

    • sorrykb1

      The only thing derailing this event is the either deliberate deception or gross incompetence of the so-called organizers.

      Also, *you’re.

  • Ranger Bagel

    The Berkeley Patriot is either trying to pull a fast one, or they are totally incompetent as student organizers. If they’re pulling a fast one, then they are failing to follow logistical protocol so that when the events cannot be scheduled, they can scream censorship. This is deceitful and propaganda. If they’re incompetent, then there’s no reason for the University to trust them with such a volatile event.

    UC Berkeley and the city of Berkeley are not interested in suppressing conservative rhetoric. Rather, both entities want organizers to follow the same rules as everyone else and be considerate of the safety of everyone involved as well as the communities in which they occur.

    If the Berkeley Patriot really wanted this to go forward, really wanted to exercise their rights to free speech at UC Berkeley, they would follow protocol just like everyone else. They wouldn’t demand special treatment or lie about what they’ve actually done.

    So this is the question: Are the students working at the Berkeley Patriot liars or incompetent? Because if they were honest and competent, this event would have been completely organized quite a while ago. Student groups schedule speaking events like this all the time and don’t struggle to complete logistical requirements. So why is the Berkeley Patriot so dysfunctional?

    • Meh, Pranav Jandhyala is a sophomore… we should not be surprised if his attempts to organize a big name event are sophomoric.

    • Jean-Luc Nacif Coelho

      It actually makes more sense for the berkley administration to be liars.

      • Ranger Bagel

        But we have objective evidence of the longstanding protocols for organizing events. We have the receipts.

  • The_Invisible_Hand

    My degree shrinks in value every day.

    Glad I’m retired.

    Damn.

  • roccolore

    Democrats hate free speech.

    • (((NunuyaBizinizz)))

      When I was younger, I was taught McCarthy’s reign of terror was one of US history’s darkest days.
      Apparently the actual reason I was taught this is not because it was legitimate oppression, but because it was the “wrong people” doing the oppression, and now it’s perfectly OK!

      • Tizzie Lish

        nonsense

        • jeyhovah

          I thought going to college was supposed to teach you to think critically, not like a liberal.

  • (((NunuyaBizinizz)))

    The courts have already ruled on this numerous times:
    UC is a state institution.
    A state institution is not allowed to use “financial slight of hand” to deny freedom of speech any more than it’s allowed to use clubs or bullets.
    I advise Berkeley Patriot to sue for breach of civil rights, demanding damages and provision of fora for the cancelled speakers..

    To anyone whinging “but he wanted subsidiiiiieees”: UCB seems to have zero problem subsidizing the most vile racists and criminals of the left to come “speak” on their campus.

    • s randall

      UCB seems to have zero problem subsidizing the most vile racists and criminals of the left to come “speak” on their campus.

      Can you provide some examples?

      • ESPM360

        Can you name anyone on the left who has ever been dis-invited to speak at UCB?

        • s randall

          Can you give me an example of someone on the right that was “dis-invited”?

          Milo wasn’t “dis-invited” last year. He was told it was too dangerous to hold his event. To claim that he should have been allowed to speak anyway and at the same time point out the dangerous people that came out to prevent him from speaking is hypocritical. It either was too dangerous to speak or it was not, and the Antifa people were either dangerous or they were not.

          • (((NunuyaBizinizz)))

            Here’s a lawsuit filed because they cancelled a previous Coulter event:

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2017/04/24/lawsuit-filed-against-uc-berkeley-for-canceling-ann-coulter-speech/

            And you’re right, they didn’t “cancel” Milo, they just told the police to stand down to allow their “Antifa” flying monkeys to hospitalize people for wrongthink.

            Last I checked, that was a violation of the 14th’s equal protection clause, and there are now lawsuits stemming from those actions by the victims of the mob.

          • Snippy

            Coulter wasn’t cancelled. The students agreed to a date with her but had not secured a space in the school, so it was never a real event.

          • jeyhovah

            Do you honestly just like arguing? Semantically you’re right, figuratively and in the real world, you’re very very wrong (and naive).

        • jeyhovah

          Bill Maher

          • ESPM360

            When? Bill was the 2014 graduation commencement speaker at UCB. By the way, it was left that attempted to keep Bill from speaking at UCB for his alleged hate speech.

          • jeyhovah

            Good call about Bill Maher. I thought he was canceled rather than “almost” canceled. And yes it was the left, that was the point I was trying to make as well. But at Berkeley, its really only the left.

      • (((NunuyaBizinizz)))

        Here’s a hamas-tied student group professing anti-semitism on berkeley’s dime (they give these kids scholarships and federal aid).

        http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/264490/top-ten-schools-supporting-terrorists-uc-berkeley-frontpagemagcom

        If the first amendment allows these people to speak, then it should allow anyone.

  • s randall

    Asking for a discount, is not the same thing as “negotiating” for a discount. When you ask for a discount and get no response, anyone with half a brain understands that means no.

    • The_Invisible_Hand

      No it doesn’t. A follow up, as illustrated was done, is proper action. Assuming a “no” simply lazy/stupid/dem like.

      • Tizzie Lish

        You seem to think you can villify dems because you believe they villify republicans? How is that okay?

        • The_Invisible_Hand

          Rather lame response.

          I hope this helps.

  • Consilium Plebis

    jesus christ, i can’t believe it.

    the people who complain about government handouts to minorities are complaining that they didn’t get a handout.