Berkeley College Republicans to host Dennis Prager, other conservative speakers in ‘#YearofFreedom’

Wikimedia/Creative Commons

Related Posts

Berkeley College Republicans, or BCR, tweeted Sunday that the organization plans to host a range of speakers on campus this year to promote a conservative agenda in its “#YearofFreedom.” The club announced that its first speaker will be Dennis Prager, a conservative radio talk show host, author and columnist, on Feb. 1.

This announcement comes after BCR tried to host Milo Yiannopoulos in February 2017, resulting in violent protests, and after “Free Speech Week,” a four-day event meant to feature a variety of conservative speakers, was canceled in September. Prager hosts a daily radio show and has published many books, including titles such as “Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph” and “The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism.”

Steven Hayward, a senior resident scholar at the campus Institute of Governmental Studies, will sponsor the event, according to BCR External Vice President Naweed Tahmas.

“Students have shown they are excited to hear Mr. Prager’s lecture and for the opportunity to have a discussion with a speaker who holds a different set of views than the ones that dominant the UC Berkeley campus,” Tahmas said in an email. “We look forward to working with the university again in hosting another successful event.”

Prager could not be reached for comment as of press time.

Tahmas said in an email that BCR plans to host an increased amount of conservative speakers this semester in order to provide students with more opportunities to “hear a diverse range of conservative viewpoints.”

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof said UCPD assesses each event based on its individual merits and that most speakers require little, if any, additional security. UCPD will conduct a security assessment and determine how the campus responds to BCR’s upcoming events, he said.

“We will continue to work with all of the student organizations to support their right to host speakers of their choice,” Mogulof said. “We have an unwavering commitment to free speech and the safety and well-being of the campus.”

Varsha Sarveshwar, development director of Cal Berkeley Democrats, said she believes BCR’s upcoming events are more about provoking controversy and turning Berkeley into a “political battleground” than contributing to meaningful dialogue. She said she finds it ironic that BCR would invite Prager in the name of the First Amendment.

“Many of the things he’s talked about are antithetical to the First Amendment,” Sarveshwar said.

Sarveshwar added that given that 2018 is an election year, Cal Dems will be canvassing, phone banking and mobilizing student involvement in politics. Instead of inviting speakers like Prager, Sarveshwar advised BCR to start dealing with the possibility that their party will be “wiped out” in California’s upcoming elections.

“I would hope that (the events are) not done in order to cause maximum disruption. I don’t have high hopes that that would be the case,” Sarveshwar said.

Hannah Piette is the lead student government reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @Hannah_PietteDC.

Please keep our community civil. Comments should remain on topic and be respectful.
Read our full comment policy
  • BerkPed

    Prager and Roy Moore got together one time to engage in some idiotic Islamophobia —

    • California Defender

      Oh, Rep. Keith Ellison’s use of the Quran to be sworn in? The same guy who supported Louis Farrakhan and the racist, anti-Semitic, violent Nation of Islam?

      Let’s also remember that he used Thomas Jefferson’s Quran. After studying it, Jefferson expressed a variation of Voltaire’s assertion that Muslims wished for no science other than the Quran. He wrote, “If ever uniformity of religion could be obtained, it would be by suffocating free inquiry.” He followed with a note in the margins: “Monkish impositions – ignorance – darkness – supported on ruins of inquiry. Mahometanism [Islam] is supported by stiffing free inquiry.”

      I’m guessing you’d call him Islamophobic. But he felt the same of Catholicism, too.

  • BerkPed

    Never heard of him.

    Wikipedia has a damning list of positions he has taken —

    My least favorite position he has taken: “Like heterosexual AIDS and so many other crises, this has been entirely manufactured by the Left.”

    He is as dangerous and stupid as Jacob Zuma.

    • California Defender

      That’s your least favorite position? Good to know that your support for other points he makes on issues like multiculturalism, immigration, and Muslims is greater. I’ll remember that.

      But back to that least favorite position. AIDS among heterosexuals accounts for only 23% of cases and the percentage decreases to 15% when removing those who are drug users. And that rate has declined by 36% over the last decade. Would you categorize that as an ongoing crisis?

      Say as opposed to a crisis of opioid use that kills over 100 Americans per day? If you were wondering, AIDS is 6 per day. Let’s not even talk about the crisis of obesity…

  • lspanker

    Varsha Sarveshwar, development director of Cal Berkeley Democrats, said that she believes BCR’s upcoming events are more about provoking controversy and turning Berkeley into a “political battleground” than contributing to meaningful dialogue.

    Funny how the lefties never get bothered by such tactics when they are pulled by militant queer activists and pro-illegal alien types…

    • BerCaley

      Are you talking about your buddy Milo Yiannopoulos again?
      He’s such an interesting conservative:

      Odd thing is, I might even go listen to David Horowitz.
      I’m a huge fan of his son Ben of A16Z although the two are quite different.
      Ben is a liberal VC. Most VCs in Silicon Valley are liberals.*BQiyGtLBjbZCkSmYyk_1Ww.png

      • zzz

        I find Milo entertaining while I find Horowitz unbearable. Milo is quasi stand up comic while Horowitz makes Michael Savage seem only mildly crazy.

    • zzz

      No one protests crazy liberal speakers, no one is going to protest a nut case like Angela Davis even though she went to the USSR and East Germany and said they were great, she’s as ridiculous as any nazi. When the republicans invite a run of the mill religious right winger they are outraged.

  • Rollie

    Right. When liberal students bring controversial speakers to campus, with messages that conservative students find objectionable, it’s “meaningful dialogue.” But when the tables are turned and the messages are not liberal-friendly, it’s “provocation” and turning Berkeley into a “political battleground.”

    C’mon Cal Dems…embrace these challenges to your own opinions, and leave aside the silly rationale that only your viewpoints pass the purity test for honest debate. It’s beneath you.

    • BerCaley

      Well, at least Prager is more interesting than the pederasty advocate y’all invited last semester.

      • Rollie

        Well, at least Prager is more interesting than the pederasty advocate y’all invited last semester.

        What an odd thing to say, since I didn’t invite anyone to anywhere. I’m not a conservative or Republican, nor did I state support for any of the messages of Prager or any other speakers invited by the camous Republicans. I only advocated open and honest debate between those of opposing viewpoints, this time criticizing the Cal Dems for failing to do so. That you stereotype intellectual open-mindedness as some sort of pederasty enabling, says a lot about your own bias, I’d say.

        • BerCaley

          “I’m not a conservative or Republican, nor did I state support for the messages of Prager*

          Regrets but you’ve gone to the effort to lock your account down so that someone like me can’t verify your material representation. Consequently, I don’t believe you. Have a nice day.

          • California Defender

            So you assume he is a Republican or conservative simply because he exposes the hypocrisy of Cal Dems and challenges them to embrace honest and open debate?

          • Rollie

            You got that right, California Defender. Apparently, anyone with opposing views must not only be wrong, but also dishonest in expressing them. Not unlike the ideological purity testing that Marxists, among others, perfected long ago. Thus, any introspection or self-criticism immediately indentifies one as the enemy. You’re either with us or against us. But it goes both ways, and countless times I’ve been accused of being a liberal and a Democrat too—and I’m neither of those. It’s curious that so many people just can’t fathom that there are more than two sides of the intellectual fence, more than two choices of viewpoint, and that political independents really do exist. Perhaps there aren’t many of us, but we’re out there.

          • That Guy

            Clearly he must be a dedicated nazi as no one else protects their identity online. Call antifa, that’s enough evidence for them

          • BerCaley

            You are the one who is calling him a dedicated nazi.
            He’s not protecting his identity. He’s disavowing what he says.
            So I just won’t take what he says seriously.

      • zzz

        Prager is a way bigger clown than Milo

        I remember this Hitchens / Prager thing and Hitchens beat him like he owed him money.

        Prager speaking on his own behalf loses. He’s telling his side of the story and he can’t even pull it off.

    • California Defender

      I agree fully with your statement, except that such behavior is “beneath” Cal Dems. It is not beneath them, but part of their routine anti-intellectual behavior.

      • Rollie

        Well, I’m optimistic, and I assume good intentions in people who speak up on issues, unless and until I’m proven wrong. Our friend BerCaley included. In this particular case, I think the Cal Dems, like a lot of good young people (including Berkeley Republicans), truly want to change the world for the better, but just have wacky, mis-informed ideas about how to do it. Sometimes they’re more enthusiastic than educated, more strident than composed, but still, generally capable of growing into more informed people as they spend more time on the planet. They’re personally better than some of their actual stances which, in my meaning, are “beneath them”. Unfortunately, too many of today’s upper-level teachers and administrators are delaying such development by leading students into mindsets that strive to pre-judge, avoid and censor ideas they fear, rather than engage them with the kind of confidence that should be essential in a university education.