September 12, 2017:  Free Speech Week Expected to Test Berkeley

Last spring, Ann Coulter’s speech at Berkeley was cancelled after concerns that protests would erupt into violence. She plans her return at Berkeley’s “Free Speech” week along with Brietbart editor Steve Bannon and conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.

September 10, 2017:  Pepper Spray and Free Speech

As a new semester gets under way at Berkeley, free speech debates and protests that boiled over earlier in the year are expected to continue. This time, ex-Breitbart editor, Ben Shapiro, is causing a stir and Berkeley police are asking to arm themselves with pepper spray to control crowds. “Berkeley has been the focus of an unprecedented effort to be made a battleground for extremist groups,” wrote Police Chief Andrew Greenwood  in a memo to the City Council stating police need help to ensure First Amendment rights are protected. “The availability of pepper spray as a force option to use against specific violent offenders in a crowd situation would allow for more safety for officers and the public, and increase the likelihood of apprehension and criminal prosecution of suspects, while reducing the potential for injuries to suspects and officers.”

September 11, 2017:  UC Berkeley Faculty Dispute Protection of Hate Speech

As Berkeley prepares for more controversial speaker visit and further free speech challenges, faculty disagreed on limiting hate speech in a recent panel. “All ideas and views can be expressed on campus, no matter how offensive,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law and an expert on constitutional law. John Powell, director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, expressed an opposite viewpoint, “I don’t think (free speech) is a defining issue in the country. I think the defining issue in the country is white supremacy.”

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See more of our analysis of Campus Speech and Hate Speech.