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Full speaker list released for FREE SPEECH WEEK at UC Berkeley

Milo Yiannopoulos confirmed Thursday a full list of speakers scheduled to appear at UC Berkeley during Free Speech Week from Sept. 24-27.

Full speaker list released for Free Speech Week at UC Berkeley

The organization originally intended to release the list of confirmed speakers slowly over a period of two weeks, but decided to release the entire list of names at once because reactions to the announcement of former White House chief strategist and Breitbart editor Steve Bannon’s confirmation were “so huge,” according to a press release issued Thursday by Yiannopoulos. Free Speech Week, a joint effort between Yiannopoulos and a conservative campus publication, The Berkeley Patriot, will encompass a variety of themes.

“Berkeley Free Speech Week will be an amazing experience for people of all viewpoints to come together in a festival environment and freely exchange ideas,” Yiannopoulos said in the press release.

The Berkeley Patriot, however, has been having some trouble confirming every speaker on the list, according to Berkeley Patriot news editor Pranav Jandhyala.

Yiannopoulos is scheduled to appear every single day. Other prominent speakers include Bannon; Ann Coulter, whose planned appearance at UC Berkeley fell through two days before; and right-wing InfoWars radio show host Mike Cernovich.

James Damore, the former Google employee who was fired recently for an internal memo mocking the company’s diversity policies, is also scheduled to speak on the second day, “Zuck 2020.”

According to campus spokesperson Dan Mogulof, however, the campus administration is currently unable to confirm a list of speakers. Only three of the speakers have contacted the campus or UCPD to make security arrangements, which is required for all campus events.

Additionally, rental fees for available indoor venues have not been paid, and no venue contracts have been signed.

“To date a number of key deadlines have been missed,” Mogulof said in an email. “While campus officials and venue managers are working diligently to assist the Berkeley Patriot group with its proposed events, the group’s failure to meet important deadlines is making it increasingly difficult to ensure a safe and secure program.”

Below is the list of speakers confirmed to speak on each day of the four-day-long event.

Sept. 24: “Feminism Awareness Day”

  • Miss Elaine
  • Lucian Wintrich
  • Lisa DePasquale
  • Chadwick Moore
  • Milo Yiannopoulos

Sept. 25: “Zuck 2020”

  • Heather Mac Donald
  • Monica Crowley
  • SABO
  • Professor Jordan Peterson
  • James Damore

Sept. 26: “Islamic Peace and Tolerance Day”

  • Michael Malice
  • Raheem Kassam
  • Katie Hopkins
  • Erik Prince
  • Pamela Geller
  • David Horowitz
  • Milo Yiannopoulos

Sept. 27: “Mario Savio is Dead”

  • Mike Cernovich
  • Charles Murray
  • Ariana Rowlands
  • Stelion Onufrei
  • Alex Marlow
  • Milo Yiannopoulos
  • Steve Bannon
  • Ann Coulter

The time and location of these events will be released next week, according to Yiannopoulos’s press office.

Source:  DailyCal.org.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Free speech on campus?

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen is overseeing a forthcoming declaration reiterating the university’s commitment to the principles of free speech.

Free speech on campus?

But he recently gave a preview of what to expect, one that was both encouraging and discouraging.

He said the UI intends to ensure that “students are exposed to the full diversity of concepts and ideas.” It’s always good to see the UI agreeing with the fundamental idea behind the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But Killeen also spoke of ensuring student “safety” when it comes to evaluating speech, a word that has been used to shut down speech on some campuses.

At the same time, the UI College of Law Dean Vikram Amar noted that so-called hate speech is, for a very good reason, constitutionally protected speech while warning that some “rabble-rousers” aren’t worth hearing or, more importantly, being invited to campus.

Dean Amar is absolutely correct that some people are far more deserving of an audience than others.

But who decides? Aye, there’s the rub.

Just as one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, one person’s compelling speaker can be another’s utter bore or offensive provocateur.

That’s why the issue is not so much who’s invited to campus to speak, but what type of reception will be granted to the invited speaker.

It should go without saying — but, unfortunately, no longer does — that all speakers should be given a polite reception and that any protests be peaceful.

But the current mood on campus is one of extreme intolerance in some quarters toward those who take positions disfavored by enforcers of campus orthodoxy.

The University of California, Berkeley, is just one school where protesters engaged in extreme violence against persons and property.

Just last week, a UI student group promised the same kind of response here if anyone runs afoul of its self-proclaimed rules.

The Students for Justice in Palestine issued a statement indicating it is willing to use violent tactics to stop people it deems fascists, white supremacists and Zionists from speaking on campus because “speech is not just expression but violence.”

“Just as oppressed and marginalized voices are made oppressed and marginalized by unjust systems of governance and societal organization, so too do these forces seek to protect the rights and speech of literal Nazis, of white supremacists all along the political spectrum, and those who seek to implement and continue all manner of ethnic cleansing or indigenous genocide. This speech is not just expression but violence.”

The student group stated that “we do not believe there is any other option (than violence) when it comes to dealing with fascists and white supremacists.”

“Granting them any platform will only lead to further normalization of their violent ideologies,” decreed the Students for Palestine.

The main, but certainly not the only, problem with that assertion is that it’s the SJP that decides who is a fascist, white supremacist or Zionist, and it will come down on anyone who disagrees with the organization’s world view. That’s particularly true as it relates to Israel, which the SJP characterizes as both fascist and white supremacist.

It’s especially disappointing that college campuses, once beacons of free speech, inquiry and thinking, have become the segment of American society most hostile to those noble concepts.

Perhaps it will change one day — preferably sooner rather than later. But if the respectful airing of points of view on controversial issues is to become the rule, rather than the exception, the UI is going to have to stand up for what is right — freedom of speech for all.

The tepid defense of free speech that President Killeen hints at won’t get the job done.

UI officials need to let campus speakers stand or fall in the marketplace of ideas, oversee law enforcement practices that strictly separate hostile political factions and make it crystal clear that those who violate campus rules will be punished, not given a pass.

It’s no secret the UI has failed miserably on the free speech front in recent months. The disruption of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s speech at a campus awards ceremony was an embarrassment. That was followed by the outrageous decision to back off a planned lecture by a Nobel Prize winner who wanted to discuss his cancer research on campus.

It took a group of zealots to run Rauner out, just one misguided extremist, a faculty member no less, to pull the plug on the Nobel Prize winner.

But whether the free speech foes are large or small, loud or shrill, they must be resisted if the UI is to demonstrate its professed commitment to true diversity of view rather conformity masquerading as diversity.

Source:  News-gazette.com.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Independence Banners on Hong Kong University Campuses Spark Free Speech Row

A pro-independence banner campaign on the campus of one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious universities has sparked warnings that public calls for the city’s secession from China may be “seditious.”  Executive councillor and barrister Ronny Tong said students who put up large black banners reading “Independence for Hong Kong” on the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) campus could have “broken the law.”

Independence Banners on Hong Kong University Campuses Spark Free Speech Row

A large black banner reading “Independence for Hong Kong” hangs at Culture Square on the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) campus, in undated photo.

“There were student activities on the site, distributing pamphlets and there were other posters put up advocating the independence of Hong Kong,” Tong told government broadcaster RTHK.

“Such action has the risk of infringing section 9 of the Crimes Ordinance, which provides that if any publication is published with seditious intent then it may well be an offense.”

The banners reappeared on Tuesday after authorities at the university’s main campus, which saw one of the biggest student demonstrations during the student strike that launched the Occupy Central movement in 2014, took them down on Monday.

The removal of banners on the CUHK campus sparked the appearance of similar banners and posters on campuses across the city, including the University of Hong Kong, the Education University, City University and the University of Science and Technology.

On Tuesday, university officials warned students by letter that public talk of independence was a breach of Hong Kong’s miniconstitution, the Basic Law, and university regulations.

Freedom of speech

The student union has rejected the criticisms, saying students will defend their right to exercise freedom of speech.

“We are still looking for people who can stand guard over these banners and posters in Culture Square,” union leader Justin Au told journalists.

“We will try to persuade them, and to question the rational basis for trying to remove the banners in a place where students congregate,” he said. “However, we will do our utmost to prevent physical clashes of any kind.”

Former Occupy Central student leader Tommy Cheung said Tong’s claims made no sense, however.

“What law has been broken; they will have to say what law has been broken,” Cheung said. “Nobody has been charged over this, for just talking about Hong Kong independence … when there has been no concrete action.”

“Just discussing something doesn’t break the law, but this attempt to move the goalposts is very problematic,” he said. “Freedom of speech and the autonomy of the students’ union are inviolable, regardless of their stance [on independence].”

Hong Kong University student union leader Wong Ching Tak said CUHK had overreacted.

“Regardless of whether or not you support the idea of Hong Kong independence, I think it was important to take this action based on our support for universal values,” Wong said.

Traditional freedoms seen eroding

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, has vowed to fight “pro-independence forces” in the city and begin fostering a sense of Chinese identity among very young children, sparking fears that she will try to brainwash them into loyalty to the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

Lam, who took office on the 20th anniversary of the July 1, 1997 handover to Chinese rule, said her administration would “strictly” enforce existing law, which she said bans “pro-independence behavior.”

Recent opinion polls by the University of Hong Kong found that 37 percent of respondents identified as Hongkongers, and 21 percent as Chinese, while others chose more ambiguous options like “Hongkongers in China” or “Chinese in Hong Kong.”

But only 3.1 percent of the 18-28 age group said they identified as Chinese, the lowest result since the poll began in 1997.

And a recent opinion poll commissioned by the pro-Beijing group Silent Majority for Hong Kong showed that while more than 70 percent of respondents overall strongly supported Beijing’s view that independence for the city will never be an option, only 51 percent of people aged 18-29 agreed with the Communist Party’s position.

Some 43 percent said they disagreed.

In June, Zhang Xiaoming, the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s envoy to the city, warned that young Hong Kong people would be unable to realize their life goals if they were “led astray” by such ideas.

Hong Kong was promised a “high degree of autonomy” and the continuation of its existing freedoms of speech, association and publication under the terms of the 1997 handover to China.

But a string of legal interpretations by China’s parliament of the Basic Law, as well as cross-border detentions of five Hong Kong booksellers, have left many fearing that the city’s traditional freedoms, and its judicial independence, have been seriously eroded.

Source:  Rfa.org.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Ohio’s Campus Free Speech Act helps build free minds, free people

The First Amendment is often referred to as America’s first freedom because of the principles that it enshrines. Namely, that government cannot restrict our rights to freedom of religion, free speech, the press, assembly, and to petition our government.

Ohio’s Campus Free Speech Act helps build free minds, free people

 

As policy makers, our duty is to ensure that these freedoms are respected and protected for all. In my case especially, I must ensure those freedoms are protected for Ohioans.

That is why Ohio State House Representative Andrew Brenner and I are introducing the Campus Free Speech Act. This common-sense legislation is based on a simple premise; that the laws, policies, and conduct of Ohio’s public universities be fully consistent with the First Amendment.

College is a transformative time for Ohio’s young people as they learn and grow into the next generation of leaders and citizens. A free and open exchange of speech and ideas is critical to ensuring that our students have the most meaningful and impactful education experience in a way that prepares them to be active and engaged citizens in our republic.

Several states in recent months and years have adopted policies on a bipartisan basis to maximize First Amendment freedoms on college campuses. This is not about privileging or advancing one viewpoint over another, or about stifling opinions we disagree with or even find abhorrent. This is about ensuring that Ohio’s students have every ability to freely and peacefully debate ideas, pursue truth, and reject error.

In recent years we have seen a clampdown on First Amendment-protected activities on college campuses across that nation, signaling a dangerous closing of the American mind that only contributes to a more difficult national dialogue. A 2016 Gallup poll found that roughly two-thirds of college student support restricting “intentionally offensive” language, and 27 percent of students support restricting the expression of political views “that are upsetting or offensive to certain groups.”

While Ohio has been fortunate to avoid the madness that has taken hold at places like UC Berkeley and the University of Missouri, there have still been instances of speech suppression here.

Within the last five years, both the University of Cincinnati and the Columbus State Community College were sued and had reverse “Free Speech Area” policies that limited free speech rights to small, designated areas on campus. In the University of Cincinnati’s case, the free speech area made up less than 1 percent of the campus’s total area.

In 2014, University of Toledo campus police suppressed a peaceful protest of a Karl Rove event by blocking protesters from entering the event. The university has since adopted a new free expression policy.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education still finds that all but one of our public universities maintains policies “that could be interpreted to suppress protected speech or policies that, while clearly restricting freedom of speech, restrict only narrow categories of speech.”

Ambiguous policies leave the door open for future suppression, and need to be changed to make it clear that protected speech will be given the full protection of the law.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote:

“Truth is great and will prevail if left to herself … she is the proper and sufficient antagonist to error, and has nothing to fear from the conflict unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument and debate; errors ceasing to be dangerous when it is permitted to freely contradict them.”

The role of a university is to pursue truth, and as such, universities should value free inquiry above all else. Students only learn when challenged with new ideas, forcing them to apply reason and reconsider beliefs they have previously held out of habit. Erroneous and bigoted ideas can only be defeated by standing them up to the test of reason and debate.

While it is unfortunate that the importance of free speech and free inquiry are being questioned across the nation, this bill presents an opportunity protect it in Ohio. We have a duty to ensure that Ohio’s public universities maintain their truth-seeking purpose, through which they shower countless benefits on students and a citizens alike, making good on the taxpayers’ investment in their institutions.

Source:  TheHill.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

A Handful of Tech Companies Decide Who Has Free Speech Online. That’s Not Good.

Conservatives and others outside the Silicon Valley consensus are right to be paranoid.  On August 18, statistics professor and researcher Salil Mehta discovered his Google account had been shut down. Not only did he lose access to his email, but his popular blog Statistical Ideas was inaccessible — right after The New York Times had linked to it, directing a stream of readers his way. Google’s automated message told Mehta that he had violated the Terms of Service, but didn’t specify how and offered little recourse.  Insert:  The tech giants do not have to provide any reasons for shutting you down whether related to free speech or not.

A Handful of Tech Companies Decide Who Has Free Speech Online. That's Not Good.

Too Easy?

The incident came soon after Google fired software engineer James Damore for his outspoken views on diversity in the tech industry. In the tense atmosphere, Mehta assumed that writing he had done about electoral politics was the cause. “Apparently if you show [p]robability work like Hillary having lower election odds, then this is new definition of hate speech,” he tweeted in frustration. Mehta’s plight went semi-viral after Ricardo Blanco, a Tesla communications manager and himself a former Google executive, signal-boosted Mehta’s complaint, as did bombastic economics author Nicholas Nassim Taleb.

Like Damore, who saw himself as merely presenting scientific data showing differences between populations, Mehta did not think of himself as an ideological bomb-thrower. He told ZeroHedge, “I am not promoting any specific viewpoint. I teach probability math and that’s it.”

Mehta was lucky. The public outcry and press attention prompted Google to manually review his case. A Google spokesperson told Inc. that Mehta mistakenly marked some of his own email as spam, which confused the algorithm and triggered the shutdown. By August 21, the account had been fully restored.

It could have turned out differently. Without his impressive credentials and far-reaching network, Mehta never would have found out why his Google account was shut down. He wouldn’t have been able to access his correspondence or restore his blog, which he says has been read by the likes of Elon Musk and Warren Buffett.

After regaining access to his blog, Mehta published an out-of-character post. Instead of talking about math, Mehta discussed the societal danger posed by artificial intelligence. He pointed out that algorithms constructed by ideologically homogenous groups will reflect that homogeneity — an argument that is common among technology critics and activists of all political persuasions.

“Risk-taking off the backs of billions of citizens, an increasingly unstable segment of whom are fuming at the moment,” Mehta called the practice.

Mehta’s experience with Google illustrates just how little some of us trust our digital gatekeepers. Anyone who is right of center — or otherwise holds views that don’t jibe with the dominant Silicon Valley paradigm — can’t help but feel antsy in 2017. This anxiety exploded into public view last year after Facebook was rumored to be suppressing conservative articles in its “Trending Topics” module. People are worried about being no-platformed; about losing their ability to advocate for themselves and their communities.

“Despite their participatory rhetoric,” media critic John Herrmann wrote in The New York Times, “social platforms are closer to authoritarian spaces than democratic ones.” Users have no ability to vote in new CEOs, and the shareholders who do are more concerned with earnings and dividends than free speech rights. Your whole life could be tied up in an account, and then a fluke mistake could get you banned. There would be nearly nothing you could do about it. Unless you’re prominent enough for the media to care, you’ll be hard-pressed to get human eyes on your case.

Tech companies that offer free consumer products get away with promising very little to their users. Due process is not part of the deal. Platforms like Google and Facebook go through the rigmarole of establishing official policies, but they can break them arbitrarily whenever they want. The backend infrastructure of the internet, made up of hosting companies and DNS registrars, is also governed by what boils down to whim.

Sometimes the affectation is broken. Cloudflare’s CEO Matthew Prince caused a stir when he reversed the company’s policy of content neutrality in order to ax a neo-Nazi site. In a sorry-not-sorry email to Cloudflare staff, Prince wrote, “Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the internet.”

To his credit, Prince recognized his exercise of power as problematic and attempted to use it as a teachable moment. “Firing a Nazi customer gets you glowing notes from around the world, thanking you for standing up to hate,” he subsequently noted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. “But a week later, I continue to worry about this power and the potential precedent being set. The reality of today’s internet is that if you are publishing anything even remotely controversial, your site will get cyber-attacked. Without a massive global network similar to Cloudflare’s, it is nearly impossible to withstand the barrage.”

Prince added, “The upshot is that a few private companies have effectively become the gatekeepers to the public square — the blogs and social media that serve as today’s soapboxes and pamphlets. If a handful of tech executives decide to block you from their services, your content effectively can’t be on the internet.”

Conservative writer David French critiqued Prince’s decision in National Review, and came to the same conclusion:

“This was an ominous development for free speech — and not because there is anything at all valuable about The Daily Stormer’s message. It’s an evil site. Its message is vile. Instead, The Daily Stormer’s demise is a reminder that a few major corporations now have far more power than the government to regulate and restrict free speech, and they’re hardly neutral or unbiased actors. They have a point of view, and they’re under immense pressure to use that point of view to influence public debate.”

Everyone is on edge. Even rote decisions made by algorithms — like the one that booted Salil Mehta from his Google account — are easy to interpret as ideology-driven malice. In most cases, users are disenfranchised to the extent that they’ll never find out either way.  Talk about free speech rights being stompled by Big Tech.

Source:  Inc.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

 

After melees, Berkeley mayor asks Cal to cancel right-wing Free Speech Week

In the aftermath of a right-wing rally Sunday that ended with anarchists chasing attendees from a downtown park, Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin urged UC Berkeley on Monday to cancel conservatives’ plans for a Free Speech Week next month to avoid making the city the center of more violent unrest.

After melees, Berkeley mayor asks Cal to cancel right-wing Free Speech Week

 

“I don’t want Berkeley being used as a punching bag,” said Arreguin, whose city has been the site of several showdowns this year between, on the one hand, the left and its fringe anarchist wing, and on the other, supporters of President Trump who at times have included white nationalists.

“I am concerned about these groups using large protests to create mayhem,” Arreguin said. “It’s something we have seen in Oakland and in Berkeley.”

The mayor wants UC Berkeley to halt plans by a conservative campus group, the Berkeley Patriot, to host right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos during its scheduled Free Speech Week from Sept. 24-27. Berkeley’s right-vs.-left cage matches began with an appearance that Yiannopoulos was to have made in February at a campus hall, an event that was aborted when black-clad anarchists like those who broke up Sunday’s downtown rally stormed into Sproul Plaza, smashed windows and set bonfires.

Trump himself denounced UC Berkeley in a tweet the next day, and his supporters have since made a point of bringing their fight to the famously liberal college town.

There have been reports that the Berkeley Patriot is also trying to lure ousted White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and right-wing commentator Ann Coulter to appear on campus during its Free Speech Week. Bryce Kasamoto, a spokesman for the group, said Monday, “We are still working out the logistics of this event with the university and law enforcement. Once we have worked out final specifics, we will be able to confirm speakers for Free Speech Week.”

Arreguin is wary of the whole idea.

“I’m very concerned about Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter and some of these other right-wing speakers coming to the Berkeley campus, because it’s just a target for black bloc to come out and commit mayhem on the Berkeley campus and have that potentially spill out on the street,” Arreguin said, referring to militants who have also been called anti-fascists or antifa.

The anti-Yiannopoulos protesters inflicted $100,000 worth of damage to the school’s student union in February before taking to the streets of Berkeley, where several businesses’ windows were smashed. Arreguin said inviting the former Breitbart News editor and other right-wing speakers was setting up a possible repeat of that destruction.

“I obviously believe in freedom of speech, but there is a line between freedom of speech and then posing a risk to public safety,” the mayor said. “That is where we have to really be very careful — that while protecting people’s free-speech rights, we are not putting our citizens in a potentially dangerous situation and costing the city hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing the windows of businesses.”

UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said the university is working with the Berkeley Patriot to come up with a time and location for Yiannopoulos’ appearance. He emphasized that UC Berkeley wasn’t the one extending the invitation, but that “we have neither the legal right nor ability to interfere with or cancel (students groups’) invitations based on the perspectives and beliefs of the speakers.”

“Where we do have discretion is around everything that has to do with the safety of our communities, and the well-being of those who may feel threatened or harmed by what some of these speakers may espouse,” Mogulof said. “We can assure you that those priorities, along with our commitment to free speech, remain at the center of our planning and priorities.”

Also on tap for next month is a campus appearance by Ben Shapiro, another former Breitbart News editor, who is scheduled to speak Sept. 14 at the 1,900-capacity Zellerbach Hall. His appearance is sponsored by Berkeley College Republicans.

Shapiro told The Chronicle last week that he would welcome anyone who wanted to protest his appearance, but that “I’m actively telling people not to show up to defend my free speech. That’s the police’s job.”

UC Berkeley is charging the organizers of Shapiro’s appearance $15,000 for the campus’ security costs.

Source:  SFchronicle.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

UC Berkeley Chancellor Christ: Free speech is who we are

UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ sent this message today to the campus community:

Dear students, faculty and staff,

This fall, the issue of free speech will once more engage our community in powerful and complex ways. Events in Charlottesville, with their racism, bigotry, violence and mayhem, make the issue of free speech even more tense. The law is very clear: Public institutions like UC Berkeley must permit speakers invited in accordance with campus policies to speak, without discrimination in regard to point of view. The United States has the strongest free speech protections of any liberal democracy; the First Amendment protects even speech that most of us would find hateful, abhorrent and odious, and the courts have consistently upheld these protections.

Chancellor Carol Christ: Free speech is who we are

Chancellor Carol Christ – Carol Tecla Christ (born 1944 in New York City) is an American academic. In March 2017, she was named the 11th Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, the first woman to hold that position. She replaced Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks on July 1, 2017.

But the most powerful argument for free speech is not one of legal constraint — that we’re required to allow it — but of value. The public expression of many sharply divergent points of view is fundamental both to our democracy and to our mission as a university. The philosophical justification underlying free speech, most powerfully articulated by John Stuart Mill in his book On Liberty, rests on two basic assumptions. The first is that truth is of such power that it will always ultimately prevail; any abridgement of argument therefore compromises the opportunity of exchanging error for truth. The second is an extreme skepticism about the right of any authority to determine which opinions are noxious or abhorrent. Once you embark on the path to censorship, you make your own speech vulnerable to it.

Berkeley, as you know, is the home of the Free Speech Movement, where students on the right and students on the left united to fight for the right to advocate political views on campus. Particularly now, it is critical that the Berkeley community come together once again to protect this right. It is who we are.

Nonetheless, defending the right of free speech for those whose ideas we find offensive is not easy. It often conflicts with the values we hold as a community — tolerance, inclusion, reason and diversity. Some constitutionally protected speech attacks the very identity of particular groups of individuals in ways that are deeply hurtful. However, the right response is not the heckler’s veto, or what some call platform denial. Call toxic speech out for what it is, don’t shout it down, for in shouting it down, you collude in the narrative that universities are not open to all speech. Respond to hate speech with more speech.

We all desire safe space, where we can be ourselves and find support for our identities. You have the right at Berkeley to expect the university to keep you physically safe. But we would be providing students with a less valuable education, preparing them less well for the world after graduation, if we tried to shelter them from ideas that many find wrong, even dangerous. We must show that we can choose what to listen to, that we can cultivate our own arguments and that we can develop inner resilience, which is the surest form of safe space. These are not easy tasks, and we will offer support services for those who desire them.

This September, Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos have both been invited by student groups to speak at Berkeley. The university has the responsibility to provide safety and security for its community and guests, and we will invest the necessary resources to achieve that goal. If you choose to protest, do so peacefully. That is your right, and we will defend it with vigor. We will not tolerate violence, and we will hold anyone accountable who engages in it.

We will have many opportunities this year to come together as a Berkeley community over the issue of free speech; it will be a free speech year.  We have already planned a student panel, a faculty panel and several book talks. Bridge USA and the Center for New Media will hold a day-long conference on Oct. 5; PEN, the international writers’ organization, will hold a free speech convening in Berkeley on Oct. 23. We are planning a series in which people with sharply divergent points of view will meet for a moderated discussion. Free speech is our legacy, and we have the power once more to shape this narrative.

Sincerely,

Carol Christ
Chancellor

Source:  News.Berkeley.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

With all-hands-on-deck police action, Bay Area cities prepare for free speech rallies

With hundreds of protesters expected to turn out to two free speech rallies in the Bay Area this weekend, police leaders and local officials are now fine-tuning plans to prevent a repeat of the recent violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

With all-hands-on-deck police action, Bay Area cities prepare for free speech rallies

 

Their answer so far: huge officer manpower and tighter restrictions on the demonstrators.

In San Francisco, every single police officer will be on duty on Saturday, when a right-wing rally is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at Crissy Field. “Days off have been canceled,” said Officer Giselle Linnane, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Police Department.

Across the bay in Berkeley, city officials are working to issue new rules for protests lacking city permits, as is the case with Sunday’s “No to Marxism in America” rally at Civic Center Park. The new rules, put into force under a hastily passed ordinance, could include a ban of items that could be turned into weapons.

The organizers of the two protests say they have no ties to racist groups. But Bay Area elected officials have condemned both events as “white nationalist” rallies.

Today and always, we stand together as a community against bigotry, racism, and intolerance – and we are stronger for it,” Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin said Tuesday on the steps of City Hall. “As mayor, I am working closely with officials at every level of government — including various law enforcement agencies — to keep the peace on Sunday.”

Arreguin said that the city still hasn’t received any permit applications for the rally, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. And on Friday, the City Council passed a new ordinance allowing the city manager to issue rules for unpermitted protests. The city manager’s office and the Berkeley police department did not respond Tuesday to a request for comment.

Berkeley rally organizer Amber Cummings told Bay City News that she doesn’t want white nationalists to attend her event. She said she organized the event long before the events in Charlottesville and called Arreguin’s characterization of the rally as a white supremacy event “an outright lie.”

The situation in San Francisco is complicated by the fact that the rally is planned to be held in a national park, within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The National Park Service issued a permit for the rally earlier this month but agreed to review it after an outcry from city officials.

Joey Gibson, the organizer of the event — whose group, Patriot Prayer, has held events well-attended by white nationalist and other right-wing groups in the past — said in an interview Tuesday that he expected his permit would win final approval and “they just haven’t finalized the paperwork.”

Dana Polk, a spokeswoman for the park service, said in an email late Tuesday that there was “no news yet.”

The U.S. Park Police, which will be leading the law enforcement response to the rally, did not respond to a request for comment. But Linnane said the San Francisco Police Department has been holding meetings with the Park Police to plan their response.

“Our main goal is nonviolence and to help protect ralliers exercising their First Amendment rights, Free Speech rights,” Linnane said. “We’ll be ready if there’s anybody bringing in weapons.”

Officials in both cities are urging residents not to counter-protest at the scene of the events in the hope to avoid violent clashes. “We don’t want nonviolent protesters to be in a situation where they can be in a middle of a fight,” Arreguin said.

Lines of counter-protesters facing off with right-wing demonstrators are exactly what hate groups want, said state Sen. Nancy Skinner, who represents Berkeley and a swath of the East Bay.

“They only get attention when we give it to them,” Skinner said, quoting former first lady Michelle Obama: “‘When they go low, we go high.’”

But some locals, including Reiko Redmonde of the “Refuse Facism” group, said residents should show up and send a strong message condemning the hate groups.

“Maybe people are risking their safety, but shouldn’t people have risked their safety early on in the Nazi regime when Hitler came to power?” Redmonde asked. “Shouldn’t they have stood out and not let their neighbors be taken away?”

Also on Tuesday, Skinner introduced new legislation that would broaden the state’s hate crime statute.

In Charlottesville on Aug. 12, Heather Heyer, who is white, was murdered after a white nationalist allegedly drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters.

If Heyer had died the same way in California, the driver wouldn’t face hate crime charges because the state’s statute only covers crimes committed against people in a “protected class,” such as a racial minority.

Under Skinner’s bill, SB 630, the hate crime statute would also protect people acting in support of or in defense of protected groups.

Source: MercuryNews.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Berkeley’s New Chancellor, Carol Christ, and a FREE SPEECH YEAR

Good morning.  A swirl of problems awaited U.C. Berkeley’s new chancellor, Carol Christ, as she assumed the top job at California’s flagship public university this summer.

California Today: Berkeley’s New Chancellor, Carol Christ, and a Free Speech Year

Carol Christ, the U.C. Berkeley chancellor, is taking over at a time of intense debate over free speech principles.

The campus is contending with a student housing shortage, a budget crunch and the fallout from a series of sexual harassment scandals.

Then there is the issue that’s been attracting national attention: Whether conservative speakers have become unwelcome at Berkeley, a university regarded as a birthplace of the free speech movement.

In an interview, Dr. Christ, 73, indicated that she would confront that question head-on.

She announced a “free speech year” to include, among other events, a series of debates titled “Point Counterpoint” that would feature speakers with sharply divergent views.

“What we’re trying to do is really give the community as many different kinds of opportunities to think carefully about free speech,” she said.

Berkeley has been shadowed by doubts over its commitment to freedom of expression since February, when a planned speech on campus by the far right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was canceled in the wake of violent protests.

In the months that followed, more debates flared over invited speakers — including the conservative writers Ann Coulter and Ben Shapiro.

Dr. Christ, a scholar of Victorian literature and former president of Smith College, took over for the former Berkeley chancellor, Nicholas B. Dirks, in July.

She said she was looking carefully at how to improve the security around contested events on campus, a concern amplified this month by the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Va.

Asked if Mr. Yiannopoulos — who has railed against Muslims, immigrants and transgender people — was welcome at Berkeley, Dr. Christ cited the Constitution.

“Lots of speech that I would find abhorrent, noxious, hateful, bigoted is protected,” she said.

Whether Berkeley can guarantee that right without anyone getting hurt may be tested soon.

Mr. Yiannopoulos has said he will hold a four-day “free speech” event in September on Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza.
This time, he vowed in a Facebook post, he will “bring an army if I have to.”

Source:  NYtimes.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.

Why Even Nazis Deserve Free Speech

The First Amendment is under threat—and you should be worried.  The events in Charlottesville last weekend have provoked understandable fear and outrage. Potential sites for future “alt-right” rallies are on edge. Texas A&M University, the University of Florida and Michigan State University have all decided to cancel or deny prospective events by white nationalist Richard Spencer. All cited safety concerns. All raise serious First Amendment free speech issues.

Why Even Nazis Deserve Free Speech

Even though we’ve been called “free speech absolutists”—sometimes, but not always, as a compliment—we will not pretend that Spencer’s speaking cancellations make for a slam-dunk First Amendment lawsuit. Yes, hateful, bigoted and racist speech is fundamentally protected under the First Amendment, as it should be. However, if we’re honest about the law, we have to recognize that Spencer faces tough—though not insurmountable—legal challenges.

First, he is not a student at any of the aforementioned universities and was not invited to the campuses by students or faculty. He was seeking space on campus that is available to the general public to rent out. In at least some cases, courts have found that public colleges have a somewhat freer hand to regulate the speech of non-students on campus who are not invited by students or faculty.

Second, although a general, unsubstantiated fear of violence is not enough to justify cancelling an approved speaking event, recent violence in Charlottesville and the fact that one of the organizers of the Texas A&M rally used the promotional tagline “TODAY CHARLOTTESVILLE TOMORROW TEXAS A&M” make security concerns more concrete, at least in the short term. The more concrete the security concerns are, the easier it is to justify the cancellation or denials.

Third, as David Frum, Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern point out, judges might decide cases differently when protesters are liable to show up brandishing guns, as happened in Charlottesville. Bad facts make bad law, so the saying goes. The general legal standard now is that if a public college opens itself up to outside speakers, it cannot engage in viewpoint discrimination. Most cases of prior restraint censorship will fail in court under this standard. But in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy in Charlottesville, judges may look differently at these facts.

And that should trouble us: If a court decides in favor of the prior restraints, it could set a precedent that would do considerable harm to the free speech rights of speakers, students and faculty far beyond Spencer.

But what happens in a court of law is one thing. What happens in the court of public opinion is perhaps more important. As the famous jurist Learned Hand once said, “Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it.”

And, unfortunately, there is evidence that freedom of speech needs a pacemaker.

If your social media newsfeed doesn’t provide ample anecdotal evidence that free speech is suffering a public relations crisis, look to the polling: A recent Knight Foundation study found that fewer than 50 percent of high school students think that people should be free to say things that are offensive to others.

The New York Times opinion page, for its part, has run three columns since April questioning the value of free speech for all, the most recent imploring the ACLU to “rethink free speech”—the same ACLU that at the height of Nazism, Communism and Jim Crow in 1940 released a leaflet entitled, “Why we defend civil liberty even for Nazis, Fascists and Communists.” The ACLU of Virginia carried on this honorable tradition of viewpoint-neutral free speech defense in the days before the Charlottesville protests. However, the Wall Street Journal reported this week that the ACLU “will no longer defend hate groups seeking to march with firearms.”

And how is the birthplace of the 1960s free speech movement faring? In the wake of the riots that shut down alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech at the University of California, Berkeley on February 1, multiple students and alumni wrote that the violence and destruction of the Antifa protests were a form of “self-defense” against the “violence” of Yiannopoulos’ speech. Watching videos of the protest, it is fortunate nobody was killed.

What’s to account for this shift? One of our theories is that this generation of students comprises the children of students who went to college during the first great age of campus speech codes that spanned from the late 1980s through the early 90s. This is when colleges and universities first began writing over-broad and vague policies to regulate allegedly racist and sexist speech. Although that movement failed in the court of law, these codes have stubbornly persisted, and the view that freedom of speech is the last refuge of the “three Bs”—the bully, the bigot and the robber baron—found a home in classrooms.

When we speak on college campuses, our explanations of the critical role the First Amendment played in ensuring the success of the civil rights movement, the women’s rights movement and the gay rights movement are often met with blank stares. At a speech at Brown University, in fact, a student laughed when Greg pointed out that Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was a steadfast defender of freedom of speech––as if it were impossible for a black icon of the civil rights movement to be a free-speech champion.

However, we don’t fault students for holding these opinions. The idea of free speech is an eternally radical and counterintuitive one that requires constant education about its principles. Censorship has been the rule for most of human history. True freedom of speech is a relatively recent phenomenon. It perhaps reached its high point in the United States in the second half of the 20th century.

Most Americans claim that they venerate free speech in principle. So do most world leaders. Even censorial dictators like Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan sometimes feign support for it. Despite this, it’s common for people to have their exceptions in practice: their “I believe in free speech, but …” responses. But even the “free speech, but …” responses seem to be falling out of favor. In the last few years—and especially after Charlottesville—we have observed increasing squeamishness about free speech, and not just in practice; also in principle.

So how do we respond to the calls for censorship after Charlottesville?

For most of our careers, the charge “what if the Nazis came to town?” has been posed as a hypothetical retort to free speech defenses. (Godwin’s law extends to free speech debates, too.) But the hypothetical is no longer a hypothetical: In Charlottesville, neo-Nazis carried swastikas through the streets and revived the Hitler salute.

If you were to listen to scholars like Richard Delgado, the response should be to pass laws, to put people in jail, to do whatever it takes to stop the Nazi contagion from spreading. It’s a popular argument in Europe and in legal scholarship, but not in American courts.

There are a few problems with this response that free speech advocates have long recognized. For one, it doesn’t necessarily work; since the passage of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism laws in Europe, rates of anti-Semitism remain higher than in the U.S., where no such laws exist. In fact, the Anti-Defamation League found that rates of anti-Semitism have gone down in America since it first began measuring anti-Semitic attitudes in 1964.

What’s more, in the 1920s and 30s, Nazis did go to jail for anti-Semitic expression, and when they were released, they were celebrated as martyrs. When Bavarian authorities banned speeches by Hitler in 1925, for example, the Nazis exploited it. As former ACLU Executive Director Aryeh Neier explains in his book Defending My Enemy, the Nazi party protested the ban by distributing a picture of Hitler gagged with the caption, “One alone of 2,000 million people of the world is forbidden to speak in Germany.” The ban backfired and became a publicity coup. It was soon lifted.

We cannot forget, too, that laws have to be enforced by people. In the 1920s and early 30s, such laws would have placed the power to censor in the hands of a population that voted in large numbers for Nazis. And after 1933, such laws would have placed that power to censor in the hands of Hitler himself. Consider how such power might be used by the politician you most distrust. Consider how it is currently being used by Vladimir Putin in Russia.

What does history suggest as the best course of action to win the benefits of an open society while stemming the tide of authoritarians of any stripe? It tells us to have a high tolerance for differing opinions, and no tolerance for political violence. What distinguishes liberal societies from illiberal ones is that liberal societies use words, not violence or censorship to settle disputes. As Neier, a Holocaust survivor, concluded in his book, “The lesson of Germany in the 1920s is that a free society cannot be established and maintained if it will not act vigorously and forcefully to punish political violence.”

But we should not be so myopic about the value of freedom of speech. It is not just a practical, peaceful alternative to violence. It does much more than that: It helps us understand many crucial, mundane and sometimes troubling truths. Simply put, it helps us understand what people actually think—not “even if” it is troubling, but especially when it is troubling.

As Edward Luce points out in his excellent new short book The Retreat of Western Liberalism, there are real consequences to ignoring or wishing away the views that are held by real people, even if elites believe that those views are nasty or wrongheaded. Gay marriage champion and author Jonathan Rauch reminds us that in the same way that breaking a thermometer doesn’t change the temperature, censoring ideas doesn’t make them go away—it only makes us ignorant of their existence.

So what do we do about white supremacists? Draw a strong distinction between expression and violence: punish violence, but protect even speakers we find odious. Let them reveal themselves.

As Harvey Silverglate, a co-founder of our organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, says, it’s important to know who the Nazis are in the room.

Why?

Because we need to know not to turn our backs to them.

Source: Politico.  We have added section headings, information, and/or comments for clarity.