Berkeley riot shows conservatives aren't welcome on campus
Imagine being whisked indoors by police at a moment's notice. Fireworks explode against windows. Barricades, wielded like battering rams, shatter glass below. Young people dance to pop music as a fire rages in the middle of the plaza.
Members of the Berkeley College Republicans, the largest conservative organization at the University of California, Berkeley, hid behind brick walls within the building as peace officers in riot gear release tear gas outside. Later on, we evacuated the building without police escort and are harassed and followed by groups of thugs meaning us harm.
"For months, self-styled “anti-fascists" harassed [us]...spitting at us, insulting us, and physically assaulting us."
No, this is not a third-world country: this is the number one public university in the world, the “Home of the Free Speech Movement," silencing our free speech.
When I invited Milo Yiannopoulos to speak at UC Berkeley, I didn't anticipate the lengths the Left would go to brutalize us into submission.
For months, self-styled “anti-fascists" harassed the College Republicans, stealing or destroying private property, spitting at us, insulting us, and physically assaulting us.
We paid over $6,000 for over 100 police officers to ensure our constitutional right to free speech—as well as Milo Yiannopoulos—were protected, but all this was for naught.
Rioters gathered on campus and attacked Trump supporters outside the venue, before directing their attacks at the building Mr. Yiannopoulos had just entered.
This is a watershed moment in the history of campus political activism, let alone American politics in general. What happened last night is proof enough that conservatives are not welcome on college campuses.
As if conservatives needed reminding. This last year has seen efforts to force the “disinvitation” of conservative speakers like Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke, and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.). More than 100 professors at Berkeley demanded that Milo’s speech be canceled, just as his previous appearances had been at the University of Miami and NYU.
The administration, faculty, students, and even police cannot guarantee that we have just as much of a voice as any other group. Civil society is no longer possible in a world where people refuse to rationally debate or even protest a controversial speaker such as Mr. Yiannopoulos.
The Free Speech Movement, and the hope for a future where ideological minorities such as the Berkeley College Republicans feel safe on their campuses, is at an end.
The only glimmer of hope?
Today President Donald Trump sent out a tweet condemning last night's carnage and suggested that UC Berkeley might be deprived of its federal funding for not standing by its most beleaguered students.
Against all odds, we have the sympathy and ear of the most powerful man in the word. President Trump is now the voice of College Republicans and conservative students across America.
If university administrators and faculty will not step in, President Trump possibly will.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @TroyWerden