Conservative pundit Ann Coulter, in collaboration with the Berkeley College Republicans, has filed a lawsuit against the University of California, Berkeley.
The lawsuit, filed Monday, comes after a heated back-and-forth debate between Coulter and UC Berkeley. After threats of violence were aimed at Coulter, the school canceled her speaking engagement there that was planned for Thursday.
University spokesman Dan Mogulof told HuffPost the Thursday event was canceled after police had learned that groups responsible for violent demonstrations earlier this year planned to target Coulter’s speech.
The school then relented on its decision to cancel and offered Coulter a new date for her event ― May 2 ― when they could provide more adequate security. Coulter refused to reschedule, suggesting that not as many students would be around for that date since it falls during a reading period before final exams. She also told the university that if they did not let her speak on the original date, she’d litigate.
As per her tweets about the lawsuit, Coulter is asking for an “appropriate and safe” venue for her speech, which she indicates will happen on the original date this Thursday. She also includes a link to the full lawsuit filing:
This case arises from efforts by one of California’s leading public universities, UC Berkeley – once known as the “birthplace of the Free Speech Movement” – to restrict and stifle the speech of conservative students whose voices fall beyond the campus political orthodoxy. Though UC Berkeley promises its students an environment that promotes free debate and the free exchange of ideas, it had breached this promise through the repressive actions of University administrators and campus police, who have systematically and intentionally suppressed constitutionally-protected expression by Plaintiffs (and the many UC Berkeley students whose political viewpoints align with Plaintiffs), simply because that expression may anger or offend students, UC Berkeley administrators, and/or community members who do not share Plaintiffs’ viewpoints.
The lawsuit uses the cancellation of Milo Yiannopoulos’ speaking engagement on the campus earlier this year as a reference point for the sort of speech the university is limiting. That event was canceled because of violent protests.
You can read the entire filing here.
As per Monday afternoon, UC Berkeley issued the following statement about the lawsuit:
The University of California welcomes speakers of all political viewpoints and is committed to providing a forum to enable Ann Coulter to speak on the Berkeley campus. The allegation contained in the complaint filed by Young America’s Foundation that Ms. Coulter is being prohibited from speaking because of her conservative views is untrue. As the complaint itself notes, Young America’s Foundation has sponsored many other speaking events at UC Berkeley in past years, including that of conservative political commentator and author Ben Shapiro, and the organization’s efforts have led many notable conservatives to share their viewpoints with students and the public on campus. UC Berkeley has been working to accommodate a mutually agreeable time for Ms. Coulter’s visit – which has not yet been scheduled – and remains committed to doing so. The campus seeks to ensure that all members of the Berkeley and larger community – including Ms. Coulter herself – remain safe during such an event.
This post has been updated.