Will conservative author and commentator Ann Coulter speak Thursday on the campus of one of America’s most famously progressive universities?
A student group that had been helping to plan the speaking engagement said Tuesday it now will not host the event in Berkeley, California.
But Coulter tweeted she still expects to be at the University of California’s flagship campus.
After the Washington Post and other media outlets reported that Coulter would appear at the school’s famed Sproul Plaza, Coulter cautioned she knew not where or when she would speak.
“I haven’t spoken to any Berkeley students about when and where I will speak because I’m still waiting for Berkeley to tell me,” she said in one tweet.
“(Washington Post) emailed, but I can’t be on email all day. Sounds like a telephone game of misinformation. Still expect Berkeley to provide a room,” she said in another.
The university wanted to reschedule Coulter’s appearance until May 2, with campus police citing threats to the commentator and others connected with the event.
CNN reached out to school officials for comment Tuesday but didn’t get an immediate response.
Chancellor Nicholas Dirks told the Post the “challenges are immense” if Coulter speaks in Sproul Plaza, where activists started the Free Speech Movement in the mid-1960s.
Group says it won’t host
The Young America’s Foundation announced it wouldn’t be the host. It blamed officials at the university, saying they have created a hostile environment.
The student group said it doesn’t believe there will be proper security.
“Young America’s Foundation will not jeopardize the safety of its staff or students,” the group said.
The organization says it will continue with suing the school over its efforts reschedule Coulter’s appearance.
The lawsuit filed by the YAF and Berkeley College Republicans accuses the school of discriminating against conservative guest speakers by placing onerous time and location restrictions on their appearances.
The lawsuit seeks to end what it calls an “unconstitutionally vague policy” that the school “selectively” applies to stifle conservative viewpoints.
In response to the lawsuit, the school said Monday it welcomes speakers of all political viewpoints, including Coulter.
“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.”
Debate over an ‘unwritten’ policy
Citing safety concerns, administrators called off Coulter’s Thursday appearance, saying the university needed more time to find a “suitable venue.” UCPD said it had credible, specific intelligence of threats to Coulter, attendees and protesters that could lead to a repeat of violence that preempted former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos’ February appearance.
The lawsuit accuses the school of adopting an unwritten “high-profile speaker policy” with the help of the mayor’s office and Berkeley Police after the ill-fated Yiannopoulos event. The policy restricts speaking events to before 3 p.m. and says they must be held in a “securable” location, though it’s not clear what that means, the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit says the stipulations led the Berkeley College Republicans to cancel an event featuring conservative writer David Horowitz after the school said it would have to pay $5,788 for a security fee.
The lawsuit demands make no specific reference to Coulter’s event. In addition to unspecified punitive and compensatory damages, it asks for an injunction preventing the school from applying “any unwritten or unpublished policy restricting the exercise of political expression on the UC Berkeley campus.”