UC Berkeley to set a perimeter around 6 buildings for Ben Shapiro’s event

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UC Berkeley administration released a list Thursday detailing all security measures being arranged for conservative speaker Ben Shapiro’s scheduled event Sept. 14, including a police perimeter spanning six buildings.

Starting at 4 p.m., UCPD will create a closed perimeter around Zellerbach Hall, where Shapiro will speak, as well as Cesar Chavez Student Center, the Alumni House, MLK Jr Student Union, Sproul Hall and Eshleman Hall, according to a campuswide email sent by Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Paul Alivisatos. At 5:30 p.m., only those with a ticket for Shapiro’s event will be allowed through the perimeter, and event attendees will be required to present a photo ID in person to get their tickets.

Parking garages near Zellerbach, including Barrow Lane Parking, Peppertree Lane Parking, the North Sproul lot and the ASUC garage will be closed the entire day. Alivisatos added that campus administration is in the process of setting up a system to match people who work in buildings blocked by the perimeter with alternative work spaces that day.

“Our commitment to the principles of community mandates that all students, faculty and staff be able to be present on campus, engaging in their regular academic activities without fear,” Alivisatos wrote in the email. “Achieving this poses unusual challenges for us.”

In addition to the building perimeter, there will be an “increased and highly visible police presence” on campus the day of Shapiro’s event, according to the email. No masks or weapons will be allowed into the venue, Alivisatos wrote, with a longer list of prohibited items to be released by UCPD prior to the event.

Shapiro’s event security arrangements will act as a sort of trial run for future campus event security, according to the email. Following the event, administration will assess the success of the security arrangements to help them plan arrangements for future campus events, including Milo Yiannopoulos’s scheduled speech.

“Some may wish to attend the event and hear the speaker to form their own views,” Alivisatos wrote in the email. “Some may wish to protest. All activities can be done peacefully and with respect. …  If events escalate around you, please strongly consider leaving.”

As part of the campus’s ongoing efforts to promote discussion, Alivisatos announced a series of Community Affirmation and Empowerment workshops and a Campus Climate Speaker Series, which will feature prominent cultural critics and activists from across the country.

Alivisatos also addressed recent criticism against campus administration for hosting controversial speakers, stating that many had called for “deep, incisive examination” of the campus’s values. In order to maintain campus values, Alivisatos wrote, the administration will be “encouraging more speech.”

Ashley Wong is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @wongalum.