Milo Yiannopoulos set to return to Berkeley for ‘Free Speech Week’


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The Berkeley Patriot, a campus conservative newspaper, has invited controversial right-wing speaker Milo Yiannopoulos to return to campus next month.

In a campuswide email sent Wednesday morning, Chancellor Carol Christ confirmed that Yiannopoulos has been invited back to campus. Although Yiannopoulos was first invited to campus last February by Berkeley College Republicans, he will be hosted in September by the Berkeley Patriot.

Yiannopoulos’s original event was canceled Feb. 1 in light of fiery protests that erupted on Sproul Plaza, causing UCPD to issue a campuswide lockdown. In April, Yiannopoulos announced on his Facebook page that he planned on returning to UC Berkeley in the coming months for “Milo’s Free Speech Week” — a week of talks, rallies and parties to educate others on freedom of speech.

The Berkeley Patriot, formerly known as the California Patriot, is a conservative newspaper that aims to expose what it means to be a Republican on UC Berkeley’s campus, but it advertises as an unbiased source, according to spokesperson Bryce Kasamoto. Kasamoto added that the Berkeley Patriot is revamping its image this semester and is using Free Speech Week as a “kickstarter” for the publication.

“Not all of us believe in Milo,” Kasamoto said. “However, we are all standing together because we all believe in free speech … In the name of that, we are bringing in as many speakers as we can from the right and from the left.”

Kasamoto said because several individuals were “not allowed to speak” on campus last semester, the Berkeley Patriot will be using this event to give those speakers the chance to speak again. He added that because the plans for Free Speech Week are still being finalized, he does not yet have the final list of all the speakers who will be attending the event.

Free Speech Week will tentatively take place from Sept. 24 to 27, according to Kasamoto. He also said that the Berkeley Patriot has worked with Christ, UCPD and Berkeley Police Department closely to ensure the event is safe.

Christ, who has repeatedly declared the upcoming academic year as a “free speech year,” also discussed plans in her email to host moderated debates between people with diverging ideas and a conference between BridgeUSA and the Berkeley Center for New Media.

BCR President Troy Worden said although BCR is not involved in the planning of this event, it supports freedom of expression.

“Hopefully the birthplace of the free speech movement does not become its grave like it did on the night of Feb. 1,” Worden said. “We’re always hoping that all viewpoints can be shared on this campus peacefully and without violence.”

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