University of California-Berkeley students sue the school after the cancellation and rescheduling of a speech by Ann Coulter, a conservative commentator and author of the book, “Adios America: The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country into a Third-World Hellhole.” Coulter was initially scheduled to speak on Thursday, April 27; however, after expressing concern over security, university administrators offered an alternative date. Following the incident, two of Berkeley’s Student Groups, Young America’s Foundation and Berkeley College Republicans, claimed a violation of free speech and filed a lawsuit in U.S.

District Court in San Francisco, CA on Monday, April 24.

Claim university stifles conservative viewpoints

The lawsuit claims school administrators are trying to hinder the occurrence of events that express conservative viewpoints, a departure from the traditionally liberal university. The students explain that rescheduling Coulter’s speech is “transparently insincere” for several reasons. One being that the alternative date of May 2 finds itself in the middle of “dead week”; a week prior to finals when fewer students are found on campus while preparing for their finals. The students also highlight that not only did administrators change the date, but the time and location as well. These changes are a part of what the lawsuit describes as a “constitutionally vague policy” that works to lessen the conservative voice on campus.

According to lawyer Harmeet Dhillon, the head of the student group’s legal team, Berkeley has adopted a policy under which it declares certain speakers as ‘high profile’ and then restricts when/where they appear on campus. The alternative date has since been rejected.

Ann Coulter responds

Despite the controversy, Coulter maintained that she would arrive at the university on Thursday, April 27.

On Monday, she tweeted via her personal Twitter account @AnnCoulter, “Our lawsuit against Berkeley was just filed. Demands appropriate & safe venue for my speech THIS THURSDAY + damages.” Should the university not comply, Coulter says she’ll still hold her talk whether sanctioned by the university or not. However, by Wednesday Coulter and her sponsors pulled themselves from the event as threats continued.

The university student groups invited her to speak on immigration to provide a counter to a speech given by Maria Echaveste, an advisor to Bill Clinton during his time in office.

Controversy nothing new

This is not the first time the California university has been embroiled in controversy; in the past few months, three violent incidents have taken place. In February, riots ensued between protestors prior to the visit of Breitbart News editor, Milo Yiannopoulos. Consequently, thousands of dollars’ worth of damage occurred throughout the city. Following the cancellation of her speech, Coulter tweeted “It’s sickening when a radical thuggish institution like Berkeley can so easily snuff out the cherished American right to free speech.”

At this point, the lawsuit remains open.

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