By Samantha Grant
UC Berkeley spent almost $900,000 in the 2016-2017 term on managing protests on campus–protests that occurred due to controversial campus speakers.
On average in the past, Berkeley has spent roughly $200,000 managing and responding to these protests. However, this year with the cancellation of speakers such as Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter, featured some unusually violent protests.
Before this term, the campus put its money into monitoring peaceful protests. Now, the UC Berkeley Police Department has been anticipating more threats and violence towards controversial campus speakers, regardless of whether their appearances are cancelled..
“For the Coulter event, there was quite a bit of pre-intelligence from opposing groups stating their intentions to engage in violence in our community, so we took measures to maintain campus safety,” UCPD Sgt. Reich said. “UCPD was not willing to allow a repeat of the unprecedented violence that occurred around the Milo Yiannopoulos event, if it could be deterred or prevented altogether.”
The $894,000 spent by the UCPD has spurred a discussion of First Amendment issues. Both free speech and the right to protest are First Amendment rights–so how do you get around protecting one and not the other?