Confusing turns over status of Free Speech Week at Cal

The on-again, off-again status of a highly anticipated far-right campus event took another confusing turn Saturday when both UC Berkeley officials and student organizers said the event was off. Yet promoter Milo Yiannopoulos insisted that he and a number of other speakers have not pulled out of the event.

Campus spokesman Dan Mogulof said organizers with the conservative student group Berkeley Patriot decided to cancel Free Speech Week, which was scheduled for Sproul Plaza from Sunday through Wednesday.

Mike Wright, a student leader with the Berkeley Patriot, confirmed Saturday morning the group had canceled the upcoming events. He did not immediately explain why it was canceled. Wright had said Friday “We are concerned about threats and our safety.”

Mogulof, however, said Saturday, “We are confident that UCPD would have had the necessary resources in place to provide security for the events.

“It is extremely unfortunate that this announcement was made at the last minute, even as the University was in the process of spending significant sums of money and preparing for substantial disruption of campus life in order to provide the needed security for these events,” Mogulof said of the cancellation.

Officials had prepared to spend more than $1 million on security for the events.

Yiannopoulos said he will still be on campus to speak regardless.

“I’ve just been told that student group the Berkeley Patriot, under pressure from the administration, is withdrawing its sponsorship of Free Speech Week,” Yiannopoulos wrote in an email Saturday morning. “The students may have pulled out of Free Speech Week but I and my speakers have not.”

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Recent rumors of cancellation had surfaced when high profile speakers Ann Coulter and Steve Bannon, a former adviser to President Trump, announced they would not attend.


Jenna Lyons is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: jlyons@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @JennaJourno

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