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'People Died for Free Speech!': Pirro Blasts 'Disingenuous' Decision by Berkeley
September 20 2017, 08:08 | Irvin Gilbert
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter has canceled her speech planned for this week at the University of California's Berkeley campus after a dispute with school officials, who feared violent protests, over whether a safe venue could be found.
University officials said the Berkeley College Republicans erred by inviting Coulter without notifying campus officials in advance, as is required of all student groups, and by failing to submit to a "security assessment" to determine a suitable time and place for the event.
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) Ann Coulter said Wednesday that she was forced to cancel her speaking event Thursday at the University of California, Berkeley amid concerns of violence but might still "swing by to say hello" to all her supporters.
Berkeley city leaders are reminding people that peaceful protest is allowed, but if things devolve into a melee law abiding protesters should take precautions. But she remained coy about what she might do instead.
The group said it blames the school and the university police department for failing to do enough to keep students safe. "We must make every effort to hold events at a time and location that maximizes the chances that First Amendment rights can be successfully exercised and that community members can be protected".
UC Berkeley officials later said the speech would be held on 2 May at an "appropriate, protectable venue".
The address became a campus-freedoms rallying point for conservative groups when administrators first canceled Coulter's visit, then rescheduled it to a date the week before final exams.
Coulter has confirmed that her scheduled Thursday speech on illegal immigration, which had prompted threats of violence and unrest, was cancelled but has told Fox News that she might still show up on campus without giving a speech.
"For the future of our democracy, we must protect bigoted speech from government censorship", said the American Civil Liberty Union's David Cole in a statement.
She added that it was notable that left-wing figures like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren had also defended her right to speak at the university, and said - as she put it - 'Oh get over yourselves Berkeley'.
Dan Mogulof said the university didn't learn about Coulter's planned speech until they read about it in a newspaper.
The university gave well-placed indoor facilities with security to "other people who are of a controversial nature", including the former president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Dhillon said.
Appearing on "Outnumbered", Judge Pirro said the university's claims about student safety are "disingenuous". He worries that there is more of the same to come, with campuses serving as a sort of stage for these debates.
"In effect, our free speech has been stifled because the university has decided not to assist us in making sure the event can occur successfully", he said as protesters shouted nearby. "We're always looking for someone who's a huge draw that we can sell tickets, we just had no idea it was going to be this off the charts, because Ann Coulter is hot right now".
That, she said, was emblematic of the Republican party's desire to be liked over its attempts to actually achieve its goals.
Berkeley officials had previously cited "very specific intelligence" that Coulter and students could be endangered. "It's resulting in a awful situation for the safety of our student body".