weather icon Clear

Ann Coulter cancels speech on Berkley campus

Updated April 26, 2017 - 10:15 am

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter has canceled her speech planned for this week at the University of California’s Berkeley campus after a dispute with university officials, who feared violent protests, over whether a safe venue could be found.

“There will be no speech,” she wrote in an email to Reuters on Wednesday, saying two conservative groups sponsoring her speech were no longer supporting her.

“I looked over my shoulder and my allies had joined the other team,” she wrote.

The university was bracing for massive protests in a public plaza during Coulter’s speech Thursday afternoon.

Sproul Plaza, site of the iconic Free Speech Movement protests in the 1960s, is both symbolic and logistically challenging for the university. On an open campus, anyone can flock to the plaza.

The state flagship university has become ground zero for an intense confrontation between the far left and the far right. Some protesters are trying to stop controversial speakers from appearing on campus, while others objecting that such actions violate their right to free speech. In February and twice more since then, masked extremists turned those protests over the boundary between free speech and hate speech into violent confrontations, with fires set, people hurt and hundreds of thousands of dollars of property damage.

“The character of that attack on campus was unprecedented,” Dirks said.

So was the response on Feb. 1: After the university went on lockdown and police urged university officials to cancel controversial writer Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech — which they did — President Donald Trump raised the threat of pulling federal funding from the public school.

But the cancellation of the Yiannopoulos event further galvanized activists on the far right, who viewed it as a call to arms and proof that conservatives around the country are being oppressed. And in recent weeks, rallies in the city of Berkeley have devolved into bloody street brawls. Left-wing activists have clashed with Trump supporters, and anarchists in black masks have squared off against self-proclaimed militia groups.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Connecticut high school athletes file complaint over transgender policy

Three Connecticut girls who have run high school track have filed a federal discrimination complaint saying a statewide policy on transgender athletes has cost them top finishes in races and possibly college scholarships.

Union chief to detail Boeing design, communication flaws

A House aviation subcommittee is holding its third hearing today into the Boeing 737 Max. The plane has been grounded after two crashes killed a total of 346 people.

40 evacuated after attack on Exxon drilling site in Iraq

An Iraqi intelligence officer says 40 workers for the energy giant Exxon Mobil Corp. have been evacuated from an oil-drilling site in southern Iraq after they came under rocket fire on Wednesday.

Idea of reparations for slavery discussed in subcommittee

After more than a decade’s absence, the case for reparations is returning to Capitol Hill, this time amid a growing discussion in the Democratic Party about what the country might owe to the descendants of slaves in the United States.

UN expert urges investigation of Saudi prince over Khashoggi killing

An independent U.N. report into the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi said Wednesday there is “credible evidence” to warrant further investigation into the possible role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and suggested sanctions on his personal assets.

Facing boos, Phoenix chief promises change amid civil rights claim

Police Chief Jeri Williams promised change in her department after being booed by some of hundreds of people gathered to discuss a videotaped police encounter that has caused a national outcry.