After consideration, UC Berkeley has cancelled the visit from Ann Coulter originally scheduled for next week. The appearance was cancelled due to “active security threats.”
Infamous (or famous, depending on your politics) right-wing pundit Ann Coulter was invited to UC Berkeley by campus Republicans, and was originally slated to appear on April 27. However, her planned appearance was met with vehement opposition. According to university spokesman Dan Mogulof, posters began springing up on campus that threatened disruption of the event. In addition, officials found “targeted threats” on various websites that alluded to the possibility of violence.
UC Berkeley officials noted that the event was cancelled because they were “unable to find a safe and suitable” venue for Ann Coulter to appear at. Also, Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy sent a letter to Berkeley College Republicans, explaining that the cancellation came after consulting campus police, who would not have been able to guarantee the safety of everyone at the event.
This fear of violence is not unfounded, given the outbreak of violence between protesters at the Trump rally in downtown Berkeley on Saturday. Also, this is not the first time a controversial speaker’s appearance was cancelled at UC Berkeley. In February, an appearance by former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos was cancelled following rioting protesters outside the event.
Regardless of how you feel about controversial figures like Coulter and Yiannopoulos, they are entitled to their opinions, as are the people who listen to them. Before he left office, Barack Obama urged college students to be more receptive to differing opinions, no matter how horrible or outlandish they may seem. Listening to opinions that starkly contrast your own is a healthy critical thinking exercise. On the other hand, threatening violence in the face of differing opinions is detrimental to growth and communication, no matter what side of the political spectrum you land on.