- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 17, 2017

A major free-speech forum featuring by Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California, Berkeley, appeared to be in trouble after the school said at the weekend that student organizers have missed a series of critical deadlines.

University spokesman Dan Mogulof said that the student group Berkeley Patriot, which is hosting Free Speech Week set for Sept. 24-27, has failed to complete reservations for 10 events at two indoor venues by submitting payments, final speaker schedules and security request forms required by campus police.

In addition, some of the 20 advertised speakers have told the university that they “had no intention of participating in these events,” Mr. Mogulof said in an email update.

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“The student organization has provided inconsistent information directly to the campus regarding speakers and schedules three separate times in the last eight days,” he said.

Pranav Jandhyala, a Berkeley Patriot editor, told the Daily Californian that planning the ambitious four-day event has been a “big logistical nightmare,” but insisted that the show would go on, even if that means holding most of it outside.

“We are still going ahead with our plans. This may turn into a majority outdoor event without many venues and we are prepared to do that,” Mr. Jandhyala told the Washington Times in an email.

Mr. Yiannopoulos also insisted the event was still on, telling the Hollywood Reporter on Friday that Berkeley had “the craziest and most mendacious college administration I have ever dealt with, which has only made me more determined that we must succeed.”

The former Breitbart editor, whose Feb. 1 appearance was canceled after antifa activists began rioting on campus, has pitched Free Speech Week as the return of “every speaker prevented from speaking at Berkeley in the last 12 months.”

He unveiled last week an all-star line-up of right-wing speakers, including Steve Bannon, Ann Coulter, Pamela Geller and David Horowitz, for what he described as a peaceful gathering with a “festival atmosphere of fun that progressive authoritarians can never hope to match.”

“We are not bringing fear, violence, or chaos to Berkeley. We are bringing free speech, and loads of it,” said Mr. Yiannopoulos in a Wednesday press release.

Not surprisingly, the high-profile conservatives are expected to draw slews of left-wing protesters, including antifa, or anti-fascists.

Last week, Berkeley College Republicans brought in conservative commentator Ben Shapiro for a two-hour speech that went relatively smoothly despite drawing 1,000 protesters, but which also cost the university an estimated $600,000 in additional security.

“The University cannot defend spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide security arrangements for events based on a press release and inconsistent schedules,” wrote Mr. Mogulof. “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 UCPD’s security requirements.”

More than 200 Berkeley faculty and graduate students have signed an open letter calling for a boycott of all classes and campus activities during the four-day event, saying that students and faculty have “already had their lives threatened for speaking out against Milo and his followers.”

“We refuse to grant the Alt-Right the media spectacle that they so desperately desire,” said the letter.

Mr. Mogulof described Berkeley Patriot, a conservative student newspaper, as a “small group that appears to be struggling to fulfill responsibilities it accepted as a result of the decisions it made,” and mentioned the possibility of rescheduling the ambitious forum.

“Should the student organization fail to complete the necessary steps to hold its remaining 10 reservations, there is absolutely nothing to prevent them from seeking to reschedule the events they hoped to host for a later date so that they can fully comply with the policies that apply to them and their peers,” he said.

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