Campus takes security precautions in anticipation of potential protests

Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks/Staff

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Campus police have taken numerous security precautions Thursday in light of potential demonstrations connected to Ann Coulter’s now-canceled campus appearance.

Water-filled barriers have been placed around the staircases near the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union and the Golden Bear Cafe in anticipation of possible protests. The barriers also encompass Sather Gate and nearby pathways.

Campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof declined to go into specifics about security measures the campus is taking, stating that doing so would “undermine their impact.”

Most campus services will operate normally today, according to a campuswide email sent Wednesday evening by Chancellor Nicholas Dirks. Access to Sproul Hall and the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union will be “restricted,” the email stated. The Golden Bear Cafe will close at noon today, according to a sign posted on its door.

“This is where Free Speech could occur and there could be some controversial topics … so we’re just trying to ensure people have their right to free speech and they can be safe,” said UCPD Officer Sean Aranas.

According to Aranas, many neighboring law enforcement agencies have been called in to assist UCPD today, including the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Oakland Police Department and San Leandro Police Department.

In his email to the campus community, Dirks emphasized the importance of safe protesting, encouraging students to distance themselves from any violence and to report hate crimes to authorities.

“Our campus will not tolerate acts of violence or the destruction of property in our community, and UCPD will dutifully investigate, arrest and prosecute anyone who commits crimes on our campus,” Dirks said in his email.

The city of Berkeley also issued a press release Wednesday evening, stating that UC Berkeley and the city of Berkeley will be working together to “manage events” that may take place Thursday.

According to Mogulof, classes will continue as scheduled today.

Check back for updates.

Harini Shyamsundar is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @hshyamsundar.