After initially saying it couldn’t find a venue on campus for Ben Shapiro’s planned speech, the University of California, Berkeley, now says it will ensure the conservative figure’s event takes place on the originally requested date and will even waive venue fees, Berkleyside reported.
Chancellor Carol Christ chose Thursday to offer a large venue for Shapiro’s planned Sept. 14 speech at no cost “in the context of her commitment to free speech,” spokesman Dan Mogulof told the outlet.
“At this point, it is not a matter of if Shapiro will come on 14th” but only a question of where and at what time, he added to Berkleyside. He said those details still need to be worked out with the College Republicans.
Mogulof told the outlet the hope is that the College Republicans will “respond as soon as possible to our repeated invitations to come sit down.”
“I haven’t heard from Berkeley,” Shapiro told the news site he edits, the Daily Wire, “but as a California taxpayer, I’m pleased that they’re pledging to fulfill their commitment to the First Amendment. Now let’s see them fulfill the pledge. Words without action won’t be sufficient, obviously.”
UC Berkeley — known as the birthplace of the free-speech movement in the 1960s — previously noted it only can accommodate venue requests “when events are held at a time and location that allow for the provision of any required security measures,” according to a letter from Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell and the student organization coordinator, the College Fix reported.
Young America’s Foundation — which is sponsoring Shapiro’s speech with the Berkeley College Republicans — had said the school’s “inability to find a lecture hall more than two months in advance is laughable,” the College Fix said.
But in hearing of Berkeley’s new stance, Patrick Coyle — vice president of YAF — told the Daily Wire, “We hope these rumors are true, and if they are, it calls into question the sincerity of their previous efforts to secure a venue for Ben to speak. We look forward to the day when Berkeley welcomes all viewpoints to the campus.”