Students at the University of California at Berkeley who invited conservative commentator Ann Coulter to speak on campus are threatening to sue the university if it does not find a proper time and venue for her to speak next week. But campus officials said they could not ensure the safety of those who attended because police had learned of threats of violence by both opponents and supporters of Coulter.
The lawsuit, which requests unspecified damages, attorney fees and a jury trial, names four university leaders, including University of California President Janet Napolitano and Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, and three campus police officials as defendants. UCPD said it had credible, specific intelligence of threats to Coulter, attendees and protesters that could lead to a repeat of violence that preempted former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos' February appearance.
Berkeley has been criticized for canceling the two speakers despite the campus's historic role as the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement in the 1960s and 1970s.
Coulter also noted lack of any support for her speech.
The Young Americans for Freedom joined Berkeley's College Republicans in a lawsuit for declaratory and injunctive relief following UC Berkeley's "discriminatory application of a policy to restrict conservative speech on the UC Berkeley campus", the lawsuit said. Campus officials say she is planning to speak at Sproul Plaza, that's according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Young America's Foundation, one of the groups that planned the visit, said Tuesday that it was pulling out of organizing the event and blamed Berkeley for failing to provide a secure space.
Chief Greenwood says the media is to blame for only showing the most violent parts.
Coulter is expected to bring her own security for the afternoon appearance, but campus officials - who had urged her to reschedule for a later date - fear that won't be sufficient.
The lawsuit claims university administrators "systematically and intentionally suppressed constitutionally-protected expression" when they cancelled Coulter's speech scheduled for April 27.
The Berkeley College Republicans are plaintiffs with YAF in the suit.
Coulter took to Twitter to reject the offer, saying she will appear next Thursday as originally planned.
"This Semester", he wrote additionally, "UC Berkeley has dedicated more resources-in the form of staff time, administrative attention, police resources, and cash outlay-to facilitating BCR's expressive activities than have been devoted to any other student group in memory".
Students then filed a lawsuit against the university, saying it is discriminating against conservative speakers and violating students' rights to free speech.