SAN FRANCISCO >> Ann Coulter fired off an angry stream of tweets today vowing to speak as planned next week at the University of California, Berkeley after campus officials called off the event for security concerns.
“I WILL BE SPEAKING NEXT THURSDAY,” the right-wing commentator tweeted, calling the move to cancel her planned event on April 27 a ban on free speech.
Coulter was invited to speak at Berkeley by campus Republicans on the subject of illegal immigration. The event raised concerns of more violence at Berkeley, where masked rioters smashed windows, set fires and shut down an appearance by former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos in February.
University officials sent the Berkeley College Republicans a letter Tuesday, saying that officials and campus police had determined they could not ensure the safety of Coulter, audience members or protesters expected at the event.
“We have been unable to find a safe and suitable venue,” said the letter from Vice Chancellor Scott Biddy and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Stephen Sutton. “Given current active security threats, it is not possible to assure that the event could be held successfully.”
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter today.
The cancellation comes days after violent clashes between far-right and far-left protesters Saturday at a rally supporting President Donald Trump in downtown Berkeley.
University spokesman Dan Mogulof said that campus police learned that some of the groups that appeared to be responsible for the violence last weekend and at the Yiannopoulos event “planned to target the appearance of Ann Coulter on campus.”
Last week, posters went up on campus threatening disruption of the event and officials also found chatter on various websites indicating the possibility of planned violence, Mogulof said.
In its letter, the university said the students and officials could work together to reschedule the event for a later date. It noted that “most Mondays and Tuesdays in September during the day should work.”
Coulter posted eight tweets in a span of 17 minutes after the AP and others reported the cancellation today. She called claims of the university trying to set up an alternate date “FAKE NEWS!”
The event was being co-organized by a campus group called BridgeCal and the Young America’s Foundation, a conservative group that books Coulter’s campus speeches.
“We have no intention of acceding to these unconstitutional acts,” the Young America’s Foundation said in a statement. “The Ann Coulter lecture… will go forward.”