The Free Speech Stand-Off: Shapiro vs. Berkeley

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Thursday, August 3, 2017


The new phenomenon of universities banning conservative speakers, or making it incredibly difficult for them to speak on campus has prompted some members in Congress to take action.

Last week, Congress responded to the suppression of free speech at universities by holding a hearing to further discuss the problems facing higher education. Shapiro, along with comedian Adam Carolla, and Nadine Strossen, the past president of the American Civil Liberties Union, testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the Subcommittee on Health Care, House Benefits and Administrative Rules and the Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs.

This comes after a series of free speech violations on campuses across the United States including the University of California, Berkeley which placed restrictions on an event that will be hosted by the College Republicans and feature Ben Shapiro in the fall.

Shapiro, a speaker on behalf of Young America’s Foundation (YAF), is the editor in chief of The Daily Wire, host of The Ben Shapiro Show, and alum of UCLA and Harvard Law School. “We’ll find a way to get this done, and UC Berkeley has a moral and legal obligation to ensure we do so,” was his response to being barred from speaking.

Berkeley was “unable to identify an available campus venue” for Shapiro’s speech, according to YAF. Spencer Brown, a spokesperson for YAF, wrote in reaction to the alleged venue issue, “Berkeley’s inability to find a lecture hall more than two months in advance is laughable.” YAF and the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) sued the university due to censorship of conservatives.

Just a few days later the administration at Berkeley changed their tune and announced that they will pay for and host Shapiro on September 14th, reported the The Daily Caller.

This event would warrant obscurity if not for the larger trend within which it fits.

This, unfortunately, is not the first time that UC Berkeley has attempted to stop conservative speakers from speaking to students on their campus. In February 2017, Berkeley was put on lockdown because of protests against former Breitbart News Editor, Milo Yiannopoulos, who had an event planned on campus.

Violent groups at universities take on the title Antifa, short for “anti-fascist”. Their purpose is to threaten, attack, and terrorize, anyone who doesn’t align with the far left’s agenda. The following video highlights protests from Milo’s cancelled event and is just a small glimpse of the havoc that this Antifa group and its members reap.

This past April, Ann Coulter, another speaker on behalf of YAF, canceled her event at Berkeley after the university announced it “couldn’t accommodate her on the date and time it had initially scheduled her because of threats of violence”, according to the New York Times.

After all of these incidents, it makes sense for Congress to ask Ben Shapiro, Adam Carolla and Nadine Strossen, to testify in defense of free speech.

During their testimonies, the majority of the people testifying declared that an abundance of diverse thoughts and ideas are vital to student advancement. Shapiro made the point that college administrations should not be silencers of free speech, nor should they violate students’ constitutional rights.

Hopefully this hearing makes college administrations realize that everyone deserves the right to express their free speech on a university campus and, despite the progressive aggressive left’s best attempts, conservative speakers won’t be stopped again not even at UC Berkeley.


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About Avery Klatsky

Avery Klatsky was born in Dallas, Texas and lives there currently. His interests include, politics, country music, sports, and more.

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