Student group must pay for ‘Speech Week’
The student group seeking to hold a fourday series of conservative speakers and provocateurs at UC Berkeley has failed to pay required deposits, university officials said Saturday.
Although the Berkeley Patriot student organization turned in a contract late Friday afternoon, after missing two earlier deadlines, it did not include money to rent the facilities, according to a campus spokesman.
“At the very last minute they signed the contract, but the contract made clear they would also provide payment,” said Dan Mogulof, who heads UC Berkeley’s communications office. That did not occur.
This doesn’t necessarily scuttle the event.
“To be clear, Berkeley Patriot may still continue with planning its ‘Free Speech Week’ if it is able to confirm its speakers, confirm its schedules, and comply with ... security requirements,” Mogulof said in a statement Saturday afternoon. At the same time, he wrote, “The University cannot defend spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide security arrangements for events based on a press release and inconsistent schedules.”
What’s billed as “Berkeley Free Speech Week” is scheduled for Sept. 24-27, with a reported roster of speakers that includes Milo Yiannopoulos, Ann Coulter and Steve Bannon.
The latter was instrumental in the election of President Trump and was a top adviser in the White House until last month, when he resigned to return to the conservative Breitbart website. Coulter is the author of such books as “In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!” As for Yiannopoulos, his planned appearance at UC Berkeley in February sparked a riot.
Yiannopoulos has since packaged himself as Milo Inc. His website touts him as a “flamboyantly gay Brit ... hated by everyone from feminists to islamists,” with a “take-no-prisoners approach to the culture war.”
In an interview with The Chronicle this month, Yiannopoulos boasted that one day’s focus would be feminism, where “speakers will be telling women what they’ve been doing wrong.”
As for contract negotiations at that time, “They’re trying to make us pay $100,000 in security deposits,” Yiannopoulos said. “We’ll negotiate it down as best we can.”
On Saturday, Mogulof said he did not know the amount of money being requested to rent — and help pay for security at — Zellerbach Hall and Wheeler Auditorium.
As for Yiannopoulos’ pronouncements about the events, “We provide venues to student organizations,” Mogulof said. “Berkeley Patriot’s relation with Milo Inc. is their business.”