Taking a page from Evelyn Beatrice Hall, the University of California at Berkeley may not agree with what Ben Shapiro says, but they’ll defend to the death his right to say it. They just can’t be bothered to find him a venue. From the Washington Examiner:
In a statement sent to the Washington Examiner on Wednesday evening, Young America’s Foundation announced that administrators informed the Berkeley College Republicans in an email this week they were “unable to identify an available campus venue” to host the lecture, which was slated for Sept. 14. The administrators, identified by YAF as Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell and Student Organization Coordinator Millicent Morris Chaney, claimed the lecture was spiked “despite extensive efforts.”
Not to worry, though. They’re still totes on board with the First Amendment. Sort of.
“Ben Shapiro is welcome on our campus, and we are committed to supporting his, and your, rights to free speech,” the administrators contended in their message to students.
Mmm-hmm. As long as nobody knows he’s coming, and he uses the steam tunnels underneath the physical plant between the hours of 1-3 a.m. Oh, and be sure to slip out the back door quietly when you’re finished. Thanks, Ben, you’re a doll.
The YAF, for their part, weren’t buying it:
“Berkeley’s inability to find a lecture hall more than two months in advance is laughable,” the Foundation declared in its statement, noting the university’s insistence that it can only host Shapiro “when events are held at a time and location that allow for the provision of any required security measures.”
Kind of like what they did to Ann Coulter a few months ago. It seems that Berkeley has found the perfect excuse for weaseling out of defending free speech: We’d love to help you out, man, but we just can’t guarantee security. Of course, that might have something to do with university administrators refusing to bust the hooligans who run amok if a conservative so much as thinks about going to Berkeley–but we can’t have our students’ precious feelz invalidated by hearing a contrary opinion, can we? We’re raising the next generation of leaders, don’tcha know.
What really amazes me is that this is Ben Shapiro we’re talking about here, not some alt-right troll who spews controversial venom just to make people mad. His views are very much in the line of mainstream conservative thought–and even though he’s known for tweaking his detractors, he’s never resorted to personal attacks or rabble rousing. In short, he’s a principled conservative who is willing to engage in civilized debate of the issues. If that sort of thing is too radioactive for Berkeley, free speech there is all but dead.
And I’d really appreciate it if they stopped insulting our intelligence by pretending otherwise.
The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education reports that Berkeley has decided to cowboy up and host Shapiro after all:
The University of California, Berkeley has confirmed to FIRE it will host an on-campus event sponsored by the Berkeley College Republicans featuring conservative commentator Ben Shapiro on September 14 at 7 p.m. — even if the university has to foot the bill.
“It’s clear that we have a number of workable options,” said Dan Mogulof, Berkeley’s assistant vice chancellor for public affairs. “This event is going to happen. We just need to sit down with the College Republicans to talk through the details.”
Like the old saying goes, the devil is in those “details”–so it remains to be seen if they’ll actually go through with it once the SJWs get wind of the news.