Free Speech Lawsuit Against UC Berkeley Upheld by Federal Judge

Campus Safety

Harmeet Dhillon

A federal judge rejected the University of California at Berkeley’s request to dismiss a lawsuit claiming it discriminated against conservative speakers.

Last Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney ruled that two conservative groups, the Berkeley College Republicans and Young America’s Foundation, could continue to pursue the lawsuit that claims the school imposed unreasonable restrictions and fees on campus appearances by conservative speakers, reports Reuters.

The suit also claims the school applied its policy for handling “major events” and its policy for “high-profile speakers” to unfairly suppress free speech.

UC Berkeley Spent $4 Million on Security for Free Speech Events
Related: UC Berkeley Spent $4 Million on Security for Free Speech Events
The lawsuit lists UC System President Janet Napolitano, UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and three campus police officials as defendants.

The lawsuit was filed after the university canceled an appearance by conservative political commentator Ann Coulter scheduled for April 27, 2017. Coulter’s planned appearance at the school was arranged by Young America’s Foundation as part of its nationwide campus lecture program.

School officials said they canceled the event “due to the lack of assurances for protections from foreseeable violence from unrestrained leftist agitators.” Officials also say they offered to host the event at a safer location the following week but Coulter refused.

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Harmeet Dhillon is a nationally recognized lawyer, trusted boardroom advisor, and passionate advocate for individual, corporate and institutional clients across numerous industries and walks of life. Her focus is in commercial litigation, employment law, First Amendment rights, and election law matters.
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