Violent protests erupted this week at the University of California Berkeley over a speaker slated to appear on campus.
But in an ironic twist for a campus that was a symbolic birthplace in the 1960s for non-violent protests in the name of free speech, this time students were infringing on the First Amendment in their attempt to bar the speech from taking place.
Conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to address a crowd on Wednesday evening, but the campus canceled the event following violence which resulted in serious injury to several people.
And President Trump, who has vowed to uphold the Constitution, is not having it.
Trump took to Twitter following the protests to threaten defunding the university should they continue to infringe on the First Amendment rights of others.
UC Berkeley administration released a statement denouncing the protests, but President Trump and conservatives in the media argue that campus officials are not doing enough — especially for an institution which claims the promotion of free speech is the foundation of their history and teachings.
Breitbart writer Tom Ciccotta stated that by inciting violence to protest a speech,
“the students had “betrayed” their university and proved Yiannopoulos correct in his denunciations of liberal culture. In a statement, the college expressed profound disappointment that “the threats and unlawful actions of a few have interfered with the exercise of First Amendment rights on a campus that is proud of its history and legacy as the home of the Free Speech Movement.”
Yiannopoulos reacted to the protests, citing the hypocritical reaction of students who supposedly hold free speech as a right above all others.
Calling the protest an “expression of political violence,” Yiannopoulos berated the left for continually blasting conservatives while trying to silence anyone who does not agree with their liberal views.
The Hill reported on Yiannopoulos’ comments:
“I’m just stunned that hundreds of people … were so threatened by the idea that a conservative speaker might be persuasive, interesting, and funny and might take some people with him, they have to shut it down at all costs,” he said in a Facebook Live video.
“For 30 years, the left has been able to bully people into silence by name calling and they’ve forgotten how to argue.”
“The left cannot tolerate anyone on their campus who does not subscribe to their own crazy views,” he said in an interview with Fox News.
Ari Cohn, an attorney with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, made a statement to defend the university for its reaction to the protests, but instead, it highlighted the university’s intolerance for conservative views.
Bloomberg Politics reported on Cohn’s remarks:
In the past year, there have been 42 attempts to “disinvite” speakers on the basis of extreme, unwelcome views, Cohn said. Yiannopoulos has himself been the target of 11 of those attempts, Cohn said.
Yiannopoulos was invited to speak on campus by one of the university’s Republican groups, but latest protests just go to show that conservative students at the school are the minority — and the liberal majority wants to keep them silent.
President Trump has vowed to stand behind the U.S. Constitution in creating policy and protecting the American people.
For an institution of higher education that should be encouraging the right of everyone to have their own viewpoint, the one-sided liberal tirade at the school seems to be backfiring.
Following the cancellation of his speech, Yiannopoulos made a statement on Fox News to discuss the hypocrisy of the liberal left:
“I think tonight is…a horrible spectacle and very humiliating for American higher education,” he told the network in a call with Tucker Carlson. “I found out actually you can’t say very much at all without people getting upset.”