There’s a quintessential moment in Star Trek III when Admiral James T. Kirk, upon being asked by his crew if Starfleet Command will allow them to attempt a rescue of their fallen comrade Mr. Spock, tells them, “The word is no. I am therefore going anyway.” I don’t know if Ann Coulter has ever seen the movie, but she definitely appears to be channeling that spirit in her dealings with the University of California at Berkeley.
Here’s the story. When the local chapter of the College Republicans and BridgeUSA invited Coulter to give a speech there, the university presented long list of demands that she would have to meet, supposedly to ensure security at the event. These included having the speech in the middle of the day and making it open only to students. On top of that, the time and the venue could only be announced shortly before the speech began, so potential troublemakers wouldn’t have time to organize a violent protest. Coulter thought that the university imposed those rules because they believed she would never accept them, so she did what any self-respecting, free speech firebrand would do.
Or, as the Dean Wormers of the university put it:
Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy and student affairs Vice Chancellor Stephen Sutton wrote to the Berkeley College Republicans Tuesday saying, “We have been unable to find a safe and suitable venue for your planned April 27th event featuring Ann Coulter. We therefore must now work together to reschedule her appearance for a later date.”
By “later date” they apparently meant “never.”
Coulter, meanwhile, took a page from the history of the free speech movement at Berkeley and decided that the best course of action was to stick it to the man:
No school accepting public funds can ban free speech. https://t.co/EQsiAEWPpW
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 19, 2017
In their own statement, the College Republicans and BridgeUSA made clear their support for Coulter:
This is as clear-cut a case as it gets that public universities are using taxpayer dollars to shut down conservative speech, while allowing liberal speech only. UC-Berkeley has for example, welcomed the corrupt former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox, who has cursed at and mocked Donald Trump, currently the President of the United States.
The university, and U-C chancellor Janet Napolitano personally, have revealed themselves to be using taxpayer money for an unconstitutional purpose. Even after Coulter went along with their ruses and guises to shut down her speech, they simply announced, like Kim Jung Un, that it was cancelled.”
They saved the best for last, though.
We have no intention of acceding to these unconstitutional acts. The Ann Coulter lecture sponsored by Young America’s Foundation will go forward.
So Berkeley will have to deal with Ann Couter whether they want to or not. That’s what I call power to the people, man!
It also sends a very clear message to Berkeley, and other universities that have been so craven by giving in to leftist mobs who would rather burn the joint down than engage in a free flow of ideas: If you want to avoid riots, you aren’t going to do it by branding conservative speech as too dangerous for campus. You’ll have to do it by enforcing the law, and making an example out of anyone who engages in violence.