UC Berkeley’s administration is attempting to avoid a repeat of the controversy that erupted after two right-wing speakers were prevented from addressing students last academic year. In response to a claim by Berkeley College Republicans that former Breitbart writer Ben Shapiro is being “blocked” from addressing their organization, campus leaders are insisting a venue is available for a September talk. The administration may even pick up some of the costs for the venue, according to a statement. Berkeley College Republicans claimed this past week campus leaders had vetoed the appearance, which led to criticism from the left and right online. However, in a statement, Chancellor Carol Christ said, “We believe deeply in the value and importance of free speech and fully support student groups’ right to invite speakers of their choice to campus.” During the previous academic year, campus leaders insisted they did not cancel the events out of concern over their content, but rather to protect the safety of students from violent protesters.
An editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle praised the campus’s handling of this past week’s controversy, noting, “the recent crop of speakers and their supporters have at times seemed more eager to be refused than to be accommodated — and to therefore have the opportunity to accuse UC Berkeley of being a liberal echo chamber that has drifted a long way from the days when the Free Speech Movement began there.”
7/22 – Editorial: UC makes right call on free speech (SFChronicle): The editorial praises Berkeley’s handling of the most recent flare up.
7/20 – UC Berkeley Now Says It Will Host Conservative Speaker Ben Shapiro (KQED): The article quotes affiliates of BCR saying the campus has not communicated well with BCR.
7/20 – Why Is There No Room At UC Berkeley For Conservative Ben Shapiro? (DailyBeast): Despite the slanted headline, the story is mostly balanced, despite focusing on the experience of BCR.
7/20 – Cal brouhaha over conservative pundit Ben Shapiro’s planned visit (SFGate): BCR sent out a press release at one point that read “Berkeley blocks Ben Shapiro!”
7/20 – UC Berkeley can’t find venue for yet another conservative speaker — and gets put on notice (TheBlaze): The conservative outlet frames the controversy as a fight for the free speech of conservative students.
7/20 – Cal Needs A Bailout (InsideHigherEd): The author draws a parallel between the financial catastrophe linked to Berkeley’s football stadium and campus finances in South Carolina.
7/17 – The UC application process is changing — and some people don’t like it (SJMN): Concerns have been raised about a change to allow UC campuses to solicit recommendation letters as part of the admissions process from up to 15 percent of the pool. Some are worried students in large, under-staffed schools will be disadvantaged, though a pilot program at Berkeley seems to not have had that effect.