Author: Alex Pearce
Last week the publicly funded University of California, Berkeley displayed yet another staunch display of their opposition against free speech. After cancelling another speaking engagement, this time by Ann Coulter, an experienced political commentator, concern continued to grow over the status of free speech on the campus. The event, hosted by Berkeley’s College Republicans Club and their Young America’s Foundation Chapter, was put on hold due to security concerns.
According to a statement by the University, the security concerns came from a group of masked, aggressive demonstrators called the “Antifa” which is short for Anti-Fascist. As a perpetually violent and oppressive group, the Antifa has caused multiple cancellations of demonstrations around the country, including a family parade in Portland, after promising to incite violence at the events.
What explains the actions of the Antifa? For one, they have shown growing disapproval of anything labeled ‘conservative’ after the election of President Trump. While it is okay to not approve of the President, promising violence in return for free speech is completely unacceptable. The two clubs at Berkeley who were putting on the Coulter event have sued the University for their lack of protection against free speech. From a legal standpoint, failure of UC Berkeley to maintain free speech could result in major issues for them.
As a taxpayer funded institution, it is imperative that UC Berkeley uphold the constitution. Failure to do so is simply unconstitutional and goes against the ideals of this great country. Free speech has continually come under attack at campuses across the United States. From the Berkeley incidents to students being arrested for handing out copies of the Constitution, things have definitely gone downhill. Why is it that free speech has become limited when it is not deemed to be “correct” by the left? If the Antifa is anti-fascist, then why are they attacking a right to individual freedom and expression? As Americans, we are all entitled to our own values and beliefs. Just because you do not agree with someone does not mean you incite violence. That is exactly what a fascist would do!
UC Berkeley, please uphold the rights of those that attend and fund your university. And while you are at it, please remember that you were once the home of free speech protection. It is a sad day when our educational institutions, which are supposed to be home to thought and expression, become a place where violence is allowed to intimidate constitutional rights. It is vital that we remember the values that our country was founded upon and uphold the dignity of all who call America home. To the Berkeley College Republicans and the members of the Young America’s Foundation, we salute your commitment to liberty!