In an email sent to the College Republicans and members of the media earlier today, the administration of the University of California, Berkeley has reduced the security fee, given the College Republicans the right to appeal the police for security recommendations, but imposed tougher restrictions on potential attendees.
In this email sent from Dan Mogulof, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Public Affairs, UC Berkeley updated their policies in preparation for Ben Shapiro’s speech on Sept. 14th. One of the biggest and most important changes listed is the reduction in the security fee. The original fee of roughly $15,800 has been dropped to just under $9,200.
Berkeley reduced the fee after conducting an “assessment was based on specific, objective, content neutral criteria… delineated in the campus’s event policy.” Young Americas for Freedom (YAF) has previously announced their intent to take legal action against the school over the security fee.
Another important note in the email includes four security measures laid out to “support [their] commitment to help facilitate a safe and successful event.”
These measures include a form of photo identification among entry to Zellerbach Hall, no mass purchasing of tickets by students or organizations, no “Will Call” tickets on the day of the lecture, and the closing of the balcony in the hall.
This last measure will bring the total capacity down to 1,042 seats. This will not fill up the entire hall, but, according to the email, is allegedly “more than double the number originally requested by the Berkeley College Republicans.”
Finally, the administration has now offered the Berkeley College Republicans the chance to appeal the previous security recommendations made by UCPD, including the assessment which cut the audience size nearly in half.
The College Republicans plan to submit an appeal to re-open the venue to its original capacity. “Our appeal pragmatically enumerates the reasons to lift certain arbitrary and unprecedented restrictions on Ben Shapiro’s speaking engagement on September 14,” the College Republicans said in a statement to Lone Conservative.
“This process is just another layer of bureaucratic stonewalling. Our priority remains to make quality information and tickets available to the public as soon as possible. I wish the university shared this sense of urgency and our goals, especially after touting ‘free speech year.'”
The full text of the statement from UC Berkeley is below:
In the wake of recent, violent incidents in the City of Berkeley and Charlottesville, the University of California Police Department (UCPD) recently completed a revised security assessment for the September 14th event featuring Ben Shapiro.
This step is consistent with demands presented by the BCR to the UCPD in a recent written communication, as well as University’s event policy that applies to all student organizations and clearly states:
“If UCPD determines that, because of new information it has received or changing circumstances, its security assessment must be modified, it will schedule additional meetings or communications with the LEAD Center, sponsors, and other appropriate stakeholders to discuss its revised recommendations.”
As a result of UCPD’s revised assessment and guidance provided by the department’s command staff, the hosting student organization has been informed about the following, additional security measures that will be implemented in order to support our commitment to help facilitate a safe and successful event.
- Some form of photo identification will be required for entrance to the
- There will be no sales of large blocks of tickets to single individuals or
- There will be no “Will Call” tickets available on the day of the event to ensure that the person who bought the ticket is the person attending the event, and that we have an accurate list of people inside the event, in case of
- For safety reasons, the balcony that extends out, high above the main floor in Zellerbach Hall will be closed for the Shapiro event. We have concerns that anything thrown from the balcony has potential to seriously harm patrons below and confrontations on the balcony could result in significant injury should someone stumble, trip, or get pushed over the balcony railing. With the balcony closed for these security reasons, the maximum audience size is 1,042, more than double the number originally requested by the Berkeley College Republicans.
Because audience size has a substantial impact on basic security fees assessed for all students groups, the BCR’s security fee for this event will be reduced from $15,738 to $9,162. That assessment was based on specific, objective, content neutral criteria that are applied to all student events, and are delineated in the campus’s event policy using the standard UCPD recharge rates for overtime in Fiscal Year 2018 as applied to all campus events (http://cfo.berkeley.edu/uc-police-services-recharge-rates).
As per policy, the hosting student organization has been informed it has the ability to appeal the police department’s security recommendations.
The University maintains its unprecedented commitment to assume the financial burden of all venue and staffing costs for this event.
The remaining logistical arrangements for the Shapiro event are being completed and ticketing for the event will begin as soon as the BCR finalizes pending decisions about logistical specifics.
We look forward to continued, constructive collaboration with the Berkeley College Republicans in support of their First Amendment rights and the campus’s obligation to provide safety and security to members of its community, the public, and our guests.
We wish to note and emphasize Chancellor Christ’s recent message regarding Free Speech, which clearly stated that, “We will not tolerate violence, and we will hold anyone accountable who engages in it.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.