The Young Americans Foundation, or YAF, has recently scored a big win in the name of free speech against the administration of the American Ivy-league University, UC Berkley. The University settled with the student group in an agreement that liberalized the standards for “controversial” speakers, removing undue burdens to their access such as security costs, as well as paying for the group’s legal fees.
After a year-long dispute with the University, YAF made the following statement in announcing their victory: “No longer can UC Berkeley place a 3:00 p.m. curfew on conservative speech. No longer can UC Berkeley ban advertisements for Young America’s Foundation-sponsored campus lectures. And no longer can UC Berkeley relegate conservative speakers to remote or inconvenient lecture halls on campus while giving leftist speakers access to preferred locations.”
This was all on the back of what seemed to be a pattern of regulatory stifling and undue burdens placed exclusively against speakers who caused panic among the leftist student-body. UC Berkley charged conservative commentator “Ben Shapiro” $20,000 dollars in security fees despite having charged Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor less than a third of that price. The fact that an internet commentator was charged more than a Supreme Court justice indicated to the conservative group hosting Shapiro that this was a “go away” price mean to disincentivize the speaker from going to the campus.
The settlement read as follows:
“The goals of UCPD’s security recommendations will be to: minimize risks to the health and safety of the event participants and audience; minimize risks to the campus and surrounding community; maximize the ability of the event organizers to successfully hold the Major Event; and protect the exercise of rights of free expression by the event organizers, participants, and community …
Additional security fees will not be charged to event sponsors based on concerns that the content of the event or the viewpoints, opinions, or anticipated expression of the sponsors, event performers, or others participating in the event might provoke disturbances or response costs required by such disturbances.”
One more win for free speech, but so much more to go.