90 Miles From Tyranny : Berkeley task force blames conservatives for leftist violence

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Berkeley task force blames conservatives for leftist violence

The UC-Berkeley Commission on Free Speech claims that conservative students are to blame for last year's destructive leftist riots because they invited speakers to campus who were "likely to incite a violent reaction."

While the report shied away from suggesting a ban on provocative speakers, it did suggest further restricting the areas of campus open to free expression and training campus police to be a "less intimidating presence."

A university spokesperson, however, insisted that the commission's findings do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, which is currently reviewing the recommendations.

A University of California, Berkeley task force is blaming conservative students for destructive protests on campus, saying that hosting conservative speakers was “likely to incite a violent reaction.”

The report was filed on April 10 by a Commission on Free Speech that Chancellor Carol Christ created last October to “analyze events featuring external speakers” on campus in the wake of a series of disruptive protests against planned appearances by speakers such as Ben Shapiro, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Ann Coulter.

"Although those speakers had every right to speak and were entitled to protection, they did not need to be on campus to exercise the right of free speech."

“Although those speakers had every right to speak and were entitled to protection, they did not need to be on campus to exercise the right of free speech,” the commission declares, speculating that they were only invited “in order to advance a facile narrative that universities are not tolerant of conservative speech.”

“The Commission was charged with ‘developing a set of recommendations that preserve the campus’s firm commitment to free expression while reducing the likelihood of such expression disrupting the mission of education, research, and public service,’” the report explains, referencing the objectives set by Christ .

According to the document, the commission was formed in October 2017 following a wave of protest against conservative speakers who were invited to lecture at the university. The commission specifically highlights the difference between the polite reception Shapiro received when he visited campus on April 11, 2016 compared to his latest speech on campus in September of last year, which cost the university approximately $600,000 in security.

“Although of course many things changed during the 17 months between Shapiro’s campus engagements, our conclusion is that the rise of ultra-conservative rhetoric, including white supremacist views and protest marches, legitimized by the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath, encouraged far-right and alt-right activists to ‘spike the football’ at Berkeley,” the commission writes.

“This provoked an at-times violent (and condemnable) response from the extreme left, tearing at the campus’s social fabric,” the document adds.

The report goes on to contend that all of the events that sparked protests last year “were sponsored by very small groups of students working closely with outside organizations,” asserting that “at least some of the 2017 events at Berkeley can now be seen to be part of a coordinated campaign to organize appearances on American campuses likely to incite a violent reaction, in order to advance a facile narrative that universities are not tolerant of conservative speech.”

The task force further elaborates that while there is “plausibility” to the claim that Shapiro’s visit was intended to “broaden the political discourse” on campus, many of its members believe that Yiannopoulos and Coulter only came to the university “in pursuit of wealth and fame.”

“We should, of course, be wary of painting with an overly broad brush,” the report explained. “In Shapiro’s case, the claim that his invitation to campus was intended to broaden the political discourse has some plausibility, as his commitment to the issue long predates the polarizing 2016 election.”

“Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter, however, expressed little interest in reasoned discussion of contentious issues or in defending or revising their views through argument,” the commission continued. “Many Commission members are skeptical of these speakers’ commitment to anything other than the pursuit of ...Read More HERE

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