US & Canada

Ann Coulter's Berkeley speech cancelled a day beforehand

Ann Coulter at a podium Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ann Coulter's speech on campus has been cancelled a day before it was due to happen

US conservative commentator Ann Coulter will not speak this week at the University of California, Berkeley, following a protracted dispute.

The controversy over her planned speech involved discussions over free speech, protest and safety on campus.

Ms Coulter, a pro-Trump author, was due to speak on immigration on Thursday. She and the university blamed each other for the event's cancellation.

There have been violent protests on the Berkeley campus in recent months.

University officials cancelled the speech last week, amid fears of clashes between protesters and counter-protesters. They said they could not provide a safe venue.

They then rescheduled for next week, but she said she would go on the original date anyway.

Organisers the Young America's Foundation (YAF) and Berkeley College Republicans indicated they would sue the university.

But they later pulled out of hosting, blaming a "hostile atmosphere".

Ms Coulter tweeted that free speech had been "crushed by thugs".

She said she was "so sorry" that Berkeley had cancelled the talk.

Berkeley's chancellor wrote to students saying the university "did not cancel the Coulter event and has never prohibited Ms Coulter from coming on campus".

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks said the only reason she could not speak on Thursday was because the venue available was not safe; it could not be cordoned off, he said, and had floor-to-ceiling glass.

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Media caption'It gets lonely': Being conservative on a liberal campus

The groups who planned to host Ms Coulter sued the university on Tuesday, accusing administrators of trying to "burden or ban" events "involving the expression of conservative viewpoints".

Later that day the YAF said in a blog post that it could not sponsor the event anymore. It blamed the university for a "lack of assurances for protections from foreseeable violence from unrestrained leftist agitators".

"Berkeley should be ashamed for creating this hostile atmosphere," the statement continued.

Ms Coulter has reacted angrily to the YAF pulling out, saying that they "acquiesced".

However Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof told Reuters that the university had "heard nothing" from Coulter or the sponsors.

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