UC Berkeley officials said today they are confident they will be able to accommodate a request from the Berkeley College Republicans (BCR) for conservative commentator Ben Shapiro to speak on campus on Sept. 14.
While the BCR had asked for a 500-seat venue, the group recently suggested to administrators a somewhat smaller one would be acceptable, opening up additional spaces at Berkeley for consideration. A recent email message from the administration to the BCR also mentioned that the campus has other venues not usually available free of charge to students. It has been determined that some of those venues are not booked for Sept. 14, and if need be, officials said the campus is willing to help underwrite rental costs.
Officials reiterated that, as per longstanding process and practice, finalization of plans for the Shapiro event, and the standard security assessment for it, can and must occur through direct conversation with the student group hosts. They added that the campus hopes and expects to schedule and hold a meeting with the BCR in the very near future to discuss and finalize event details.
Chancellor Carol Christ said Berkeley looks forward to welcoming Shapiro to campus and believes it is essential that students be exposed to the broadest possible range of ideas and perspectives.
"We believe deeply in the value and importance of Free Speech, and fully support student groups' right to invite speakers of their choice to campus," Christ said. "Over the years, we have hosted dozens of speakers from both conservative and libertarian movements without incident. The key is for the hosting organization to work collaboratively with the campus through a detailed planning process. I am confident the event will be safely and successfully held."