By Natalie Orenstein and Frances Dinkelspiel Update: 10:15 am: Both the New York Times and Fox News are reporting that Coulter has canceled her talk.
“There will be no speech,” Coulter wrote in an email to Reuters on Wednesday, according to Fox News. Coulter apparently laid some blame on the Young America’s Foundation and Bridge USA who removed their sponsorship of her speech. “I looked over my shoulder and my allies had joined the other team,” she wrote.
Update: 8:40 am: Ann Coulter told the New York Times she is likely to cancel her talk planned for Thursday at Berkeley “because she faced threats of violence and felt she was left without the support of local law enforcement who have said it cannot guarantee her safety.”
Update, 4/26, 7:45 am: Ann Coulter told the Washington Post that she plans to arrive in Berkeley sometime after 6 pm on Thursday.
Update, 7:45 pm: Ann Coulter cast doubt Tuesday night that she is definitely set to come speak at UC Berkeley on Thursday. She said she is still waiting to hear from the university about which room it will provide.
CORRECTION: I haven’t spoken to any Berkeley students about when and where I will speak because I’m still waiting for Berkeley to tell me. https://t.co/xdqhzWtuGL — Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 26, 2017
WAPO emailed, but I can’t be on email all day. Sounds like a telephone game of misinformation. Still expect Berkeley to provide a room. https://t.co/xdqhzWtuGL — Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 26, 2017
Original story: Ann Coulter is slated to speak at UC Berkeley on Thursday, most likely at 2 p.m. on Sproul Plaza, an open space in the center of campus that is difficult to secure.
“Our understanding is that she intends to come here Thursday afternoon,” said Dan Mogulof, a UC Berkeley spokesman.
Coulter tweeted on Monday that the weather forecast for Thursday, when it will be about 70 degrees and sunny, is a “Nice day for an outdoor speech in Berkeley.”
Pranav Jandhyala, a founder of BridgeUSA, the non-partisan student group that invited Coulter to campus along with the Berkeley College Republicans, said Coulter indicated to student groups Tuesday that she plans to speak on Sproul in the afternoon on Thursday. That was not the intention of BridgeUSA, he said.
“We don’t support the event that might take place on Sproul. We think it’s going to end up in violence. I think a conversation with people who disagree with her — the intellectuals of our community — will be more productive, and more representative of our campus community,” said Jandhyala.
BridgeUSA and the College Republicans have been looking – with no success – to find a suitable indoor space off campus for Coulter.
The College Republicans set up an electronic invitation to Coulter’s talk, indicating it would be from 2-3:30 p.m.
“The event will focus on a critical issue facing the nation: illegal immigration,” according to the invitation. “The audience will be able to challenge Ms. Coulter and pose her with questions. The event is free and open to the public.”
The group could not be reached for comment.
UC Berkeley police, Berkeley police, and city and university officials have been meeting this week to figure out how to handle Coulter’s talk. While no one wanted to reveal how the police forces will respond, officials said they will be prepared. At the April 15 “Patriots Day” rally, most of the Berkeley police force was on duty.
“The university has neither the ability nor the desire to bar members of the public from coming onto campus,” Mogulof said. The university is doing what is necessary to make sure the event is as safe and secure as possible, he said.
Numerous groups say they plan to protest Coulter’s talk. Some people have been discussing their travel to Berkeley on Twitter and in numerous Facebook groups. Many of them are from the same groups that showed up to the April 15 rally that devolved into violence.
The Bay Area Alt Right, for example, is just one of many groups planning to be there. “We will be showing our support for Ann Coulter and her right to speak on public property,” the group wrote on a Facebook event page. “Join us and meet some of our local members. Reach out and message us for more information or for information on upcoming events. Planning will be done on our private communication servers.”
BAMN, which stands for Any Means Necessary, is calling for its members to attend the Coulter rally. BAMN members have been present at all the three violent protests in Berkeley – Feb. 1, March 4, and April 15 – and has taken credit for resisting people on the right that it characterizes as fascists.
The Young America’s Foundation, which was paying the bulk of Coulter’s $20,000 speaker’s fee, announced on its website this afternoon that it is yanking its sponsorship of her talk. It put the blame on UC Berkeley for not meeting the foundation’s demands, which included a large room, “zero tolerance” at the event for masked agitators, and an appropriately firm response by police to violence.
“As of 4:00 p.m. today, UC-Berkeley failed to meet our demands, after refusing to provide a proper venue for six weeks,” according to the statement. Berkeley made it impossible to hold a lecture due to the lack of assurances for protections from foreseeable violence from unrestrained leftist agitators. Berkeley should be ashamed for creating this hostile atmosphere.”
The foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans filed a lawsuit Monday against UC Berkeley saying the way Cal handled Coulter’s talk violated their first amendment rights.
UC Berkeley originally canceled Coulter’s talk on April 27 saying there was no appropriate defensible venue available. The university reversed itself a day later and offer a new, unspecified venue for May 2 that it believed could allow Coulter to speak safely. She rejected that date because if falls during Dead Week when students are preparing for finals. She said she would come April 27 anyway.
This story has been edited to correct information on the planned response to Coulter’s appearance. It has also been updated as events change.