Controversy over Conservative Speakers Continues

In response to the riots at Berkley due to the guest speakers Milo Yiannopolous and Ann Coulter, the College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation contacted the Department of Justice. Appalled at the response to his potential arrival, these groups determined that the college had mistreated conservative speakers. In alignment with this claim, they say that the College has infringed upon their First Amendment right to freedom of speech. They reference UC Berkley’s “High-Profile Speaker Policy” as the reason administrators could influence curfews, security costs and unwanted venues for those conservative speakers who arrive on campus.

With this policy in mind, that College Republicans and YAF claim that they’re being faced with a double standard between Berkley’s response to conservative and liberal speakers. YAF spokesperson said the following on the subject: “The school’s policy to bring in conservative speakers and any other event that’s conservative is much harder than it is for liberal students. The university was selectively enforcing these policies that made it much harder for conservatives to bring in speakers and express their ideas.”

Campus spokesperson Roqua Montezhad said in response, “The allegations made by the plaintiffs in this lawsuit are unfounded. Berkeley does not discriminate against speakers invited by student organizations based upon viewpoint.”

The case had already been dismissed in October 2017 but has been re-filed since. And on January 25th, the Department of Justice has backed them in their suit. Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand said in a statement, “This Department of Justice will not stand by idly while public universities violate students’ constitutional rights,” taking a strong stand against UC Berkley in this case. So the DOJ has filed a Statement of Interest into a suit of discriminatory practices that curb free speech. If the lawsuit is successful, Brand hopes that this will prevent the college from continuing to discriminate against conservative speakers on campus.