Conservative speakers are under fire on college campuses, and critics say that the officials of the school who should be the promotion of a climate of intellectual diversity, instead, together with violent groups to exclude from speech.
The ongoing controversy at the University of California, Berkeley, with a scheduled speech by conservative firebrand Ann Coulter is the latest example of a school caught between provocative speech and the threat of a reactionary violence. And although the school, which was the scene of violent protests earlier this year during an aborted appearance by conservative Milo Yiannopoulos, claims that it reverse a decision to cancel Coulter’s April 27, comments, Coulter insists she is still censored. The alternate date, the school offered is after the lessons.
“It is not the imposition of arbitrary and harassing restrictions on the exercise of a Constitutional right,” Coulter told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday evening.
ANN COULTER REJECT BERKELEY’S PROPOSAL FOR A RECAST OF HER SPEECH
School officials appear to be hoping to avoid a repeat of the Yiannopoulos incident, in which masked vandals have more than $100,000 worth of damage, setting fires and breaking windows in protest against the expected speech. That was followed by a violent attack on a conservative author Charles Murray in a speech in Vermont is Middlebury College and a part of what critics say is a growing acceptance of violence against conservatives on college campuses.
Many are to blame for the violent protests targeting conservative speakers to the left-wing agitator group Antifa. Critics say that Antifa, a group that calls itself “anti-fascist” has led to violence on college campuses across the country to his radical agenda.
In the UC Berkeley riots that broke out recently, pictures and video have been tweeted by rioters beating people with “Antifa” flagpoles and then spray them with pepper spray. Antifa rioters often wear masks to conceal their identity. And to separate themselves from anarchists in the black block, they often wave a distinctive red and black flags that are often seen at the Berkeley riots.
“In no uncertain terms, we work in close consultation with the local, regional and national law enforcement agencies on investigations with regard to the group referred to as the black bloc,” UC Berkeley Assistant Vice Chancellor Dan Mogulof told Fox News.
Kyle Shideler, director of the Threat Information Office at the Washington D. C. based think tank Center for Security Policy, said Antifa is proud to trace its roots in Antifaschistische Aktion, the street fighting wing of the German Communist party in the 1920s and the 1930s.”
“Increasingly, college campuses have become bastions of the radical left-wing politics. If a person has the freedom of speech is seen as inherently ‘unsafe’ or ‘dangerous’ by these colleges, then it creates an environment where the violent opposition to this speech is seen as a legitimate,” Shideler said. “Antifa routinely taking credit for such violent activities.”
OH, SHUT UP: LET’S PROSECUTE CRIMINAL CAMPUS CRAZIES
Some question whether universities are doing enough to stop the violence, and whether they engaged with those responsible for the violence accountable.
UC Berkeley, told Fox News that the university employee suspected of taking part in the February riots and may even have tweeted a boast about beating a Trump supporter at the event still in service.
“In the wake of a careful and extensive investigation, the detectives were not able to develop sufficient evidence to pursue criminal charges,” against Ian Dabney Miller, Mogulof told Fox News. It is unclear whether the Miller was actually in control of his twitter account at the moment, and therefore responsible for the photos of an unconscious man with the accompanying captions about the punching of a Trump supporter.
By not taking the appropriate steps to stop the violence, some say, the universities are, in principle, to show that the suppression of free speech to winning the war against the First Amendment.
Manhattan Institute fellow Heather MacDonald, who writes about policing in America, said that when she was on the way to roundtable at Claremont McKenna College in Southern California, she had to be escorted in the past, the mass of the protesters.
“There was a block of 300 to 400 students who prevent other students from entering. I gave my talk to an almost empty room. During the talk the protesters beat on the plate glass,” says MacDonald. They said that there was a Facebook posting for the event for the protesters to “shut down the white supremacist fascist Heather MacDonald.”
Eventually, she said, they got their wish.
“It was the threat of brute force,” she said, “The police decided that they could not guarantee our safety and I was told that it is over and hustled out of the building under police protection.”
Some experts are wondering whether it is time for the Trump Administration or Congress to step in.
“I think an argument can be made that there is a compelling government interest in restoring the safety and the free exchange of ideas on college campuses, or at a minimum, restrict or terminate government funding for institutions of higher education which refuse to defend students and faculties of free speech rights,” said Shideler of the Center for Security Policy.
An investigation into the Department of Education remain unanswered about potentially withholding funds from universities that do not adequately address the concerns about the violence and free speech on campus.
As for the question of whether the Department of Homeland Security is the control in the actions of antifa on the campus as a potential terrorist threat, a high-ranking DHS official told Fox News, “We are not and usually would not unless they were threatening the critical infrastructure.”
For MacDonald, the law enforcement expert, there is already a solution for local and campus authorities.
“The only way to stop this is with swift, certain punishment for this kind of behavior,” MacDonald said. “If you literally fascist behavior without the consequences we are going to see more of.”