Ann Coulter’s planned speech at the University of California at Berkeley has been called off because of safety concerns. The cancellation comes after violent clashes between protesters on Saturday at a pro-President Trump rally in downtown Berkeley.
In a letter to Berkeley College Republicans (the group that invited Coulter to speak) sent Tuesday, and obtained by The AP, Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy said officials made the decision in consultation with campus police who determined they could not ensure the safety of Coulter, audience members or protesters expected at the event.
“Given current active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully,” the letter read.
Coulter has responded, telling the Hollywood Reporter that she still plans to somehow give a speech on campus.
“Yes, it was officially banned,” Coulter said of her planned appearance. “But they can’t stop me. I’m an American. I have Constitutional rights… I’m giving a speech.”
The Berkeley College Republicans are the same group that invited right-wing provocateur and Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos to speak on campus. His talk was canned by the university following violence and protests.
Trump at the time criticized the school’s action, threatening in a tweet to pull federal funds from the university:
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view – NO FEDERAL FUNDS?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
Berkeley defended its cancelling of Coulter to the Washington Post Wednesday, saying it had “nothing to do with anyone’s political views.”
“We believe in unqualified support to the First Amendment. But we also have an unqualified focus on safety of our students,” Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof Mogulof told the paper. “We are going to be making a concerted effort to explain the reasons behind this.”