UC Berkeley settles landmark free speech lawsuit, will pay $70,000 to conservative groups

free-speech

#1

There are still hope for the young college minds in the heart of darkness.

After more than a year of litigation, the University of California, Berkeley, has settled a lawsuit with the Young Americas Foundation and the UC Berkeley College Republicans.

Campus conservatives accused the university of bias in the process of bringing high-profile speakers to campus. The original lawsuit revolved around the cancellation of an event with Ann Coulter. An amended version of the lawsuit included road blocks initiated by the university for an event with Ben Shapiro.

The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest backing the campus conservatives. The crux of their argument revolved around two campus policies that they claim violate students’ First and 14th Amendment rights: an unspoken “High-Profile Speaker Policy” and an on-the-books “ Major Events Policy.”

“This Department of Justice will not stand by idly while public universities violate students’ constitutional rights,” Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand saidat the time.

In the settlement, UC Berkeley agreed to the following terms set by YAF:

  1. Pay YAF $70,000.
  2. Rescind the unconstitutional “High-Profile Speaker Policy.”
  3. Rescind the viewpoint-discriminatory security fee policy.
  4. Abolish its heckler’s veto — protesters will no longer be able to shut down conservative expression.

Under these terms, UC Berkeley will no longer be allowed to place a 3 p.m. curfew on conservative events or relegate conservative speakers to remote or inconvenient lecture halls on campus while giving left-leaning speakers access to preferred parts of campus.

YAF and UC Berkeley also agreed to a “fee schedule” that treats all students, student groups, and speakers equally. Unless students are handling money or serving alcohol at an event, there will not be a need for security fees.

“The policy that allowed Berkeley administrators to charge conservative students $20,000 for security to host Ben Shapiro — an amount three times greater than the fee charged to leftist students to host liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor — is gone,” says a press release from YAF.

“This settlement is a huge win for the Berkeley College Republicans and really all student groups on campus,” Matt Ronnau, President of the Berkeley College Republicans, told the Washington Examiner. “This is a huge win for the 1st Amendment, and I am proud of the work that the men and women of the Berkeley College Republicans have put in to achieve this victory.”

Not every conservative speaker faced the steadfast opposition Coulter and Shapiro faced. In October, I successfully spoke at UC Berkeley on the need for more free speech and event surprisingly went smoothly.


#2

This ruling of course only really matters if there is still a viable Young Americas Foundation to invite those conservative speakers in the first place… someone enjoys the $70000 settlement and the rest is moot. It is, I guess a righting of a rather significant wrong. Now… when is Coulter do to speak?


#3

Excellent result, that should help level the playing field


#4

I’m sure they had to build in extra safe spaces and call in the trauma counselors before this ruling got made.

Good news out of Berkeley for once.


#5

Good news!

Am tired of the sniveling crybabies who set the tone in more well known universities.

A higher security fee to host Ben Shapiro than Sonia Sotomayor? Forget that!

Whatever happened to staying home if not interested in a speaker or other event ?

Don’t want to go, stay home, but don’t ruin the event for those who really want to be there.


#6

LOL, I hope they have dentists on hand for the liberal gnashing of teeth going on :joy::tooth:

I’m glad to see this happen. Not just to Berkeley but because now other universities will have to follow suit.

A great win for conservatives. Glad to see us fighting back and especially those at the college level.


#7

Should have been 7 million as that would have gotten their attention.

70K, they are laughing at the settlement as their insurance covers it.


#8

The true value is in the precedent.


#9

No doubt it has value however real change and impact would have been realized with a higher judgement.


#10

That’s my alma mater and I can assure you that things won’t change. The judgement is like losing two students from Singapore. That city, and the entire area, is saturated with people ready to riot if someone like Ann Coulter shows up. The news media here will call her a white supremacist, and the rioters are noble protesters against fascism.

They’ve been doing this at least 40 years, they’re not about to be stopped with a pissant judgement like this. The college authorities will probably just back off and let the riots happen.


#11

The precedent set allows forced change. Perhaps not at your alma mater “today”, but it does send a message.


#12

Only when the entire establishment there and student body and resident ne’er-do-wells change.

That place gave me the best deal I ever got, and I generously gave back until I decided some years ago that they’ve gone off the deep end and don’t deserve any more of my money.

I’m sure that they’ll try Ann Coulter again, let’s see what happens. I predict that they’ll figure out a way to make it just as unpleasant as ever.

Going to college there was where I learned that the left couldn’t care less about free speech while patting themselves on the back for being the birthplace of the “Free Speech Movement.” They still do that, it makes me puke.