Berkeley Patriot cancels ‘Free Speech Week,’ support for Milo Yiannopoulos appearance

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Representatives of campus publication the Berkeley Patriot have informed UC Berkeley administration that all of the events scheduled for the upcoming week have been canceled, according to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof.

“Free Speech Week,” a joint effort between the Berkeley Patriot and controversial writer Milo Yiannopoulos, was set to take place from Sept. 24-27, featuring a variety of conservative speakers, including David Horowitz and Yiannopoulos himself. Mogulof said in an email that the announcement of the cancellation was made “at the last minute.”

In his email, Mogulof called allegations that UC Berkeley administration wanted the four-day-long event to be canceled “without basis in fact.” Mogulof added that UC Berkeley was in the process of allocating more than $1 million towards security for Free Speech Week.

“We want to send the strongest possible message that we will continue to work constructively with campus organizations to host their speakers on our campus,” Mogulof said in his email. “We will in the future, as we have in the past, go to great lengths to support their rights and provide security for their events.”

Yiannopoulos held a live press conference Saturday morning on Facebook, during which he announced that although the Berkeley Patriot has pulled out of Free Speech Week, he has not. He said during the conference that he and some of his scheduled speakers, including Pamela Geller, Mike Cernovich, Lauren Southern, Sabo and Lisa De Pasquale, will be on Sproul Plaza on Sept. 24 at noon to speak. He acknowledged that without the Berkeley Patriot’s support, it will be an “unofficial” event.

“Although we have lost our student sponsorship … we will not be deterred. We will not be turned away,” Yiannopoulos said at the conference. “We are going to be hosting an event come hell or high water tomorrow. … We will be expressing our constitutional rights to free speech (and) free expression on Sproul Plaza, the home of the Free Speech Movement, tomorrow as planned with our without student help, with or without the cooperation of UC Berkeley itself.”

Neither Ann Coulter nor Steve Bannon, both of whom were expected to attend Free Speech Week, will attend the event Sept. 24, according to Yiannopoulos. He said at the conference that he will be rescheduling Coulter and Bannon for a later date.

Yiannopoulos also announced at the conference that the Mario Savio Award for Free Speech — which he had planned to award to one of the speakers at the end of Free Speech Week — was originally going to be awarded to Coulter. Since Coulter will not be attending the Sept. 24 event, Yiannopoulos said that he considered destroying the award publicly to make a statement.

“I was planning originally to smash it on the steps of Sproul Plaza yesterday to declare that free speech is dead in Berkeley, but we’re conservative so we don’t give up that easily,” Yiannopoulos said at the conference. “I will hold onto (the award). We will be back. … We’re going to get these people back, and when we do, we will award Ann Coulter the Mario Savio Award for Free Speech.”

Mogulof and UCPD Chief Margo Bennett held a press conference Saturday in response to media inquiries about the cancellation of Free Speech Week. At the conference, both Mogulof and Bennett emphasized that the campus and local authorities were still preparing for any kind of demonstration that might occur Sept. 24. Mogulof added, however, that the campus would not be releasing the details of its security preparations to the public.

“We have officers here throughout the state to assist us,” Bennett said at the conference. “There’s a lot of uncertainty about what’s going to be happening on the campus, so we intend to be able to set up and react in a style that keeps safety as our primary purpose and primary priority and handle any type of disruption or type of solicitation of pedestrian traffic that’s needed.”

Bennett added that because Yiannopoulos will be holding his event Sept. 24 as a private citizen, there are some restrictions on what he can do — for instance, he will not be able to use amplified sound because he has not gotten approval to do so.

“Anybody can walk on and talk. If they create a disruption, that’s obviously not allowed if they interfere with the university business,” Bennett said at the conference. “Spontaneously, you can show up and talk, but there are limitations on what you can do.”

During his conference, Yiannopoulos said he was “blindsided” by the Berkeley Patriot’s withdrawal from Free Speech Week. He alleged, however, that the blame for the event “lies squarely with UC Berkeley.” He alleged that the Berkeley Patriot was “bullied, cajoled, manipulated and intimidated” by the campus administration for holding this event.

On Tuesday, the Berkeley Patriot filed a civil rights complaint against UC Berkeley administration for allegedly suppressing the organization’s First Amendment rights.

“The situation at UC Berkeley has become downright physically dangerous this past year for conservative students who merely wish to exercise their God-given rights to freedom of speech and association that are enshrined in the Constitution,” alleged Marguerite Melo, one of the attorneys representing the Berkeley Patriot, in the complaint.

At the conference, Mogulof said that the allegations regarding unreasonable deadlines were “utter nonsense,” emphasizing that the campus had spent “an incredible amount of time and energy” trying to organize these events over the last eight weeks.

Yiannopoulos read out a statement from the Berkeley Patriot editor in chief Mike Wright at the conference, which alleged that after the Berkeley Patriot filed its complaint, the campus administration began an “extensive, co-ordinated campaign of harassment and retaliation” against its members in the form of an investigation into hate speech charges. He compared the campus’s alleged threats to the Salem Witch Trials.

Mogulof, however, has said that UC Berkeley has only opened general investigations that do not involve specific groups with regards to hate speech incidents on campus, such as chalk graffiti targeting undocumented students and posters alleging that members of the campus community are “terrorist supporters.”

Wright also said in his statement that the Berkeley Patriot is in the process of filing a second complaint through the Department of Justice against campus administration.

“These threats to the academic freedom and futures of our members are too much to bear,” Wright said in his statement. “Accordingly, we must regretfully withdraw our sponsorship.”

At the conference, Mogulof also emphasized that none of the students in the Berkeley Patriot are being considered for expulsion.

During his press conference, Yiannopoulos announced that he will be endowing the Berkeley Patriot with $10,000 — which he is calling the Mario Savio Free Speech Fund — to help “undo some of the damage done” to the student group’s reputation and help get its publication started.

“It is my view that Berkeley needs a strong, populous, free-speech-loving conservative publication,” Yiannopoulos said at the conference. “(The fund will) give the Berkeley Patriot a really solid footing for the next few years.”

At his conference, Yiannopoulos also invited both Chancellor Carol Christ and UC President Janet Napolitano to join him in a debate any time in the next seven months. He said at the conference that although he was disappointed by their statements about him, he appreciated their funding efforts to uphold the First Amendment.

“It is high time that America had its big showdown free speech debate between the progressive liberals who believe that free speech is now just a cover for right-wingers to say awful things and conservatives who believe that their speech is being infringed upon … like never before,” Yiannopoulos said at the conference.

In his email, Mogulof said that despite the Berkeley Patriot’s allegations that it did not have an indoor venue to host its speakers for Free Speech Week, given that it lost both Zellerbach and Wheeler halls, the campus had confirmed Anna Head Alumnae Hall as a venue, which the Berkeley Patriot “voluntarily chose to cancel” Tuesday. Mogulof emphasized that, as evidenced by the peaceful facilitation of the Ben Shapiro event Sept. 14, the campus is “deeply committed to freedom of speech.”

“Claims made by external parties that the University sought to place the speakers in harm’s way are unfortunate,” Mogulof said in his email. “We are confident that UCPD would have had the necessary resources in place to provide security for the events.”

At the conference, Mogulof also addressed rumors that Yiannopoulos did not plan to actually host Free Speech Week. He said at the conference that Lucian Wintrich, one of the speakers who was invited to attend Free Speech Week, emailed him and said that the events were “a set up” and organizers were planning canceling them.

“There are a number of things that I’m sure you’ve all seen reported in the press that raise serious questions about whether there was ever actually plans or intentions to hold these events, or whether what we witnessed was a somewhat cynical effort to create a false narrative and score political points,” Mogulof said at the conference.

Check back for updates.

Staff writers Sakura Cannestra and Adrianna Buenviaje contributed to this report.

Contact Harini Shyamsundar and Chantelle Lee at [email protected].

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  • SMH

    ….

    MILO YIANNOPOULOS HAS MADE A **FOOL** OF THE UC BERKELEY CHANCELLOR & THE ENTIRE UNIVERSITY IN THE UNIVERSITY’S SPENDING OF **$800,000** TO **$1,000,000** FOR MILO’S 20 MINUTE PHOTO-OP & AUTOGRAPH SESSION.

    BUT IT *DOES* SHOW THAT THE CHANCELLOR CAN COME UP WITH SUCH MONEY WHEN THE CHANCELLOR *WANTS* TO DO SO — MONEY THAT COULD GO TO ETHNIC STUDIES & OTHER DIVERSITY *ENRICHMENT* EDUCATIONAL / ACADEMIC PROGRAMS, INSTEAD OF EDUCATIONAL / ACADEMIC CUTS OR SHORTCOMINGS.

    ….

    • SMH

      ….

      And, actually, the TV news said it was only 15 minutes!

      $800,000/15minutes = over **$53,000** per **minute**!!

      $1,000,000/15 minute = almost **$67,000** per **minute**!!

      ….

  • R G

    If the campus doesn’t make Milo and his deadbeat conservative friends pay for all those police currently swarming campus to protect this “unofficial” event, students should go on strike until every penny is paid back. Remember when conservatives at least paid lip service to “personal responsibility”?

  • Dave Doleshal

    This event seems to have been badly mismanaged from the beginning. The organizers “Berkeley Patriot”), announced it was cancelled, but Milo says it is on. So which is it? Difficult to guess what will actually happen. High potential for chaos. Nevertheless, let’s hope for the best. Just remain calm and let them all SPEAK. Milo and friends have the SAME rights to freedom of speech as everyone else – whether WE personally like what they have to say or not. Let them talk – without fear of violence, interference or harassment. No violence against people – no violence against property. Freedom of expression for all.

  • X Ray

    Let the little Nazi stand on a soapbox and rant with the rest of the crazies. It fits him.

  • sister_h

    It’s an insult to Mario Savio’s memory to assume that he would be supporting the content of right wing “free speech.”

    • California Defender

      Because free speech is limited to speech you agree with?

      Your statement is an insult to the Constitution.

      • sister_h

        Not really. Defenders of free speech don’t agree with all speech. Savio was a progressive. He may have defended free speech for all, but, like I said, it’s an insult to his memory to assume that he would want Milo, et al pretending to honor him.

        • California Defender

          Defenders of free speech don’t agree with all speech, but they agree with the right to say all speech.

          Savio would have approved of Milo speaking and would have agreed on many points. He was against the military-industrial complex as is Milo. He encouraged intellectual views that challenge the orthodoxy, especially that of the “university machine”. Milo represents exactly that.

          Savio encouraged the freedom of thought, debate, and dispute which he said was a necessary part of education to develop engaged citizens. So does Milo.

          Savio’s famous quote about the machine is perfectly applicable today as it was in the 60’s. Just the people driving that machine now call themselves “progressive”.

          You need to wake up and realize you’re part of that oppressive machine.

  • dbski4it

    I am an employer. I admit that I do not hire a lot of college graduates straight out of college. However, I do talk to many other employers that do hire recent grads. I have asked them “would you consider a recent grad from UC Berkeley?” The answer is absolutely not unless they possess talent that we must have.

    Keep doing what you are doing. your parents basement is really very nice.

    • California Defender

      The exact same in my company. STEM grads are considered ok, but the rest don’t even get an interview.

    • CSears

      You didn’t tell us the sorts of jobs you fill.

      • Graeme Stewart

        Typical Silicon Valley grandstanding and demonization of the working class and working class jobs. Yes your soooo smart and so is everyone else in the valley. I get your liberal politics is a guilt response for re-segregating the bay and causing mass gentrification but kindly keep it to yourself.

        • BerCaley

          Dude, y’all came here to tell us that you wouldn’t hire Berkeley students. I didn’t go there, where ever there even is, to tell you that I’m just a little above your pay grade.

          Go whine to someone else somewhere else.

          • Graeme Stewart

            Maybe you shouldn’t worry about the inability of your alma mater to be fair towards all students and instead focus on the re-segregation, gentrification, and mass inequality racially and economically caused by silicon valley and Cal’s white supremacy admission standards.

          • BerCaley

            Death by subordinate clause.

          • Graeme Stewart

            Try harder

      • California Defender

        I take it you graduated with a STEM degree? You’re probably decent. But I prefer Caltech, Stanford, UCLA, and UCSD over UCB STEM grads for my company.

        The reason typically isn’t related to knowledge but to interpersonal skills. UCB grads tend to struggle with building working relationships, have more conflicts with subordinates and superiors, and file more grievances. Perhaps its simply the type of person that is attracted to Berkeley or it’s a deficiency in or corrupting influence of non-STEM courses there.

        And a grind school? Again, perhaps in STEM, but the rest is a joke. UCB’s grad rate is north of 90%. US average is 69%. If you have a pulse, you’ll graduate from UCB with that useless “studies” degree.

  • Brian L

    Thank you, Berkeley Patriot, thank you for having the strength to cancel these events.
    Thank you for heeding our preference for being in classes, over being in insecurity.
    Thank you for recognizing that we want education, not objectification.
    Thank you for understanding that we have midterms to worry about. :)
    Thank you for ensuring that our tuition goes to where we choose, over a conflict in which both sides will lose (Berkeley doesn’t like antifa either).
    Thank you for answering the question, “Do humans serve speech, or is speech to serve humanity?”, for if speech does serve humanity, then speech shall serve compassion.
    Thank you for heeding the safety of our students, of all levels of documentation, and all levels of uncertainty.
    Thank you for cancelling a conversation about hate vs love, so that a conversation can be started about how best to love.
    I agree that Berkeley is somewhat ignorant of conservative views. As to many issues which are truly political and not simply humanitarian, it is just as ignorant of liberal views. In a world where politics and power have displaced many people from their homes, students from their teachers, brothers from their sisters, we need people from all views, all backgrounds, all parts of the world to discuss how to tackle this issue. How about a head-to-head between Mehdi Hasan and Omar Suleiman about education and employment?
    And finally, thank you for reading this as a message of love, not criticism. If all we care about is that love prevails in the future, there is no reason to assume hostile intentions, but every reason to promote all caring dimensions.

    • ^^^^ Demagogy at its finest, combined with a large dose of ignorance. If that’s the result of your education, you’ve been wasting your time.

      • lzefe

        this is a campus not a warzone for two conflicting groups. the students just want to go to their damn class and learn. why don’t you understand that? I’ve seen reply on all the comments. This is a campus, the students want their tuition to spent on education not some debate.

        • California Defender

          Your comment is the very reason why Free Speech Week is necessary at Berkeley.

          You (and I) are paying for your education and it should be one that values the freedom of speech and diversity of thought. You (and I) should not want drones who mindlessly trudge off to their “damn class” just to get a piece of paper to hang on the wall.

          You are most certainly not receiving the education you (and I) paid for.

    • California Defender

      Thank you for proving that there is a lack of academic rigor at Berkeley.

      Your list of platitudes and bromides displays more than just a lack of intellectual curiosity. It displays a desire to conform, avoid difficult subjects, and travel the path of least resistance.

      Thankfully, there are true intellectuals who rise above this modern malaise to meet the challenge of moving the world forward.

    • elchucko

      Go back home and have mommy finish your prep for grown up life.

  • DesertWolfPS

    Conservatives can’t even fill out paperwork or follow simple rules. I’m not surprised this event turned into another clusterf*ck. Typical alt-right bullsh*t.

    • ^^^ a lie

      • DesertWolfPS

        Nope…Truth.

      • sister_h

        The king of the alt-right white supremacists, Richard Spencer, couldn’t properly fill out the forms to keep his non-profit alive, a task that many people of color have been doing unaided for decades. So much for white supremacy.

  • EECS student

    Milo please, I have midterms to worry about.

    • Understanding the First Amendment is more important than your midterms. Of course, we shouldn’t really have to educate you on that at all. It’s your own fault.

      • EECS student

        If he is coming here for dialog, then yes you are right. But he is clearly here to bring chaos. (Please look at what he had done and said in the past)

  • Carlo Kane

    This is obviously going to wind up in Federal Court. In the end, I anticipate that Berkeley will be required to sign a consent decree, whereunder there will be a court-monitored process of re-introducing 1st Ammendment rights to the University.

  • Joe Robart

    No respectable conservative wants to appear at an event with a pedophile. It’s an embarrassment to real conservative and Republican voices on campus that a student group would bring someone as disgusting as that. Free tip to the freshman running the Patriot: conservatives don’t support pedophiles.

    • ^^^^^ Leftist concern troll

      • CSears

        CPAC canceled Milo. Concern that.

        • ^^^^ More fake news. Milo is still coming. Sunday noon, Savio steps in Sproul Plaza.

          • DesertWolfPS

            Milo is a pedophile

          • Dave Doleshal

            You have evidence for that accusation?

          • PD MacGuire

            Actually he likes big black guys with big dicks. Get informed.

        • California Defender

          And it was a poor decision. But the media lives for witch hunts and many people don’t have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to mobs.

          But have heart! The puritans eventually lost control and so too will today’s puritanical left. In many ways, Milo is a modern Roger Williams.

          • Nunya Beeswax

            Assuming you mean the Baptist minister, I’m fairly sure that Mr Williams was a chaste and continent individual.

            If, however, you’re referring to the pop-muzak pianist, well…I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of Milo’s fans also love Williams’ dull tinklings.

          • California Defender

            No doubt the minister was which is why I said “in many ways” and thankfully so as men of the cloth don’t carry the same weight they used to.

            And you don’t like the Pianist to the Presidents? Can’t disagree as I prefer another film score composer by the name of Williams.

        • PD MacGuire

          CPAC are SOCIAL conservatives. Just as worthless as the Republican National Committee. Nobody has any use for them.

          • CSears

            Yeah, and they’re probably not even True Scotsmen.

  • y_p_w

    It was a mess for a long time. Couldn’t meet deadlines for applications and payment. The list of speakers included people who said they had no idea they were invited. Of course it was going to get cancelled, and now it’s going to end up with a whole lot of finger pointing at everyone except the actual adults in the room (the administration) who could manage to operate professionally.

    • ^^^^^ post brought to you by liars in the Berkeley administration

      • lzefe

        no you dumwit. literally no one knew what was going on. there was so many emails sent because they kept changing their minds.

  • chrisfs

    It’s cancelled because you could get your paperwork together. Something every other group manages to do. Zellerbach is packed with performances for the next 6 months. All of them managed to fill out the forms and pay the money. You thought you could announce a thing and get lots of free publicity without having to spend a dime just like the alt -right group a few weeks ago. That’s what happened