University of California, Berkley, once the home of the free speech movement, is now the home of censorship and suppression of diverse ideas. Its most recent tactic? Using “campus safety” as a smokescreen to hinder conservative thought from penetrating the university’s bubble. Ben Shapiro—founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire—had a scheduled appearance at Berkley on September 14 in association with the Young America’s Foundation (YAF) and the Berkley College Republicans (BCR). However, on July 19, Berkley Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell and Student Organization Coordinator Millicent Morris Chaney sent an email to BCR explaining how they are “unable to identify an available campus venue.”
After rightly being accused of censorship, Berkley attempted to change its tone. Dan Mogulof, Berkeley’s assistant vice chancellor for public affairs, assured BCR and YAF that “it’s clear that we have a number of workable options. . . . This event is going to happen. We just need to sit down with the College Republicans and talk through the details.” Mogulof further explained that since BCR did not book the venue in advance before scheduling, Berkley was unable to accommodate their request for a centrally located room with 500-plus seats.
Now is a good time to note that Berkeley’s class size has been known to reach numbers of 1200 students per lecture. The campus itself spans a whopping 6,651 acres, making it the third largest University of California campus. And yet the Dean of Students’ automatic response to a scheduling conflict was to inform the BCR that Shapiro’s appearance must be cancelled due to lack of space.
What if it turns out that somewhere on Berkeley’s massive campus there just so happens to be a room available where Shapiro could speak? Don’t worry; Berkeley has a backup excuse to keep that from happening. In fact, Berkeley has a long track record of censorship—and even violence—often in the name of “security concerns”. Just earlier this year, Berkley cancelled conservative commentator and author Ann Coulter’s scheduled appearance due to “concerns of campus safety.” (Whatever that means.)
You may be wondering: Where were these security measures during the violent Antifa riots and protests sparked by Milo Yiannopoulos’s scheduled visit to Berkeley in 2016? Berkeley’s ever-present “safety concern” was nowhere to be seen when student Kiara Robles was pepper-sprayed in the face. The same university that prevented Ann Coulter from speaking to protect “campus safety” allowed dozens of students to be beaten with flag poles by Antifa protestors. Those protests were violent enough to prevent Yiannopoulos from appearing on campus, as he explained in a video the following day.
Whatever UC Berkeley’s intentions may be, this is undoubtedly true: Free speech is an anathema to Berkeley. The university is depriving its students of exposure to any ideas outside the Leftist agenda. It is robbing them of the ability to think critically. The University of California at Berkeley may have once been the home of free thought, but now, freedom of speech is simply a security risk.