Judge dismisses conservative lawsuit against UC-Berkeley

Sandor Farkas
Collegiate Network Fellow

  • Lawyers representing conservative UC-Berkeley students are vowing to re-file an updated legal motion after a judge dismissed a preliminary lawsuit accusing the school of silencing conservative speech.
  • The lawyers say the judge asked them to respond after the school "created a new policy" for special events, saying they will “address how the new policy continues to violate the Constitution and the rights of students at UC-Berkeley.”
  • The Dhillon Law Group is vowing to update its complaint after a judge dismissed its lawsuit accusing the University of California-Berkeley of denying free speech to conservatives

    After riots shut down a Milo Yiannopoulos speech at UC-Berkeley in February, Young America’s Foundation (YAF) and the Berkeley College Republicans (BCRs) invited Ann Coulter and David Horowitz to speak on campus.

    "University administrators deny students equal access to public resources on the basis of their viewpoints."   

    Those events, too, were subsequently cancelled after administrators imposed numerous obstacles, prompting Harmeet Dhillon, a leader in the California Republican Party and a prominent lawyer, to file a lawsuit in April on behalf of YAF and BCRs, accusing the university of using “unconstitutionally vague” policies to prevent Coulter and Horowitz from speaking, and of infringing on student free speech based on ideological differences.

    [RELATED: UC Berkeley will not silence conservatives]

    On September 29, United States District Court Judge Maxine Chesney ruled in favor of the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but allowed YAF and BCRs 30 days to amend the complaint and re-file.

    Dhillon explained to Campus Reform that the school had “created a new policy” and that “the judge wants us to respond,” adding that the updated complaint will “address how the new policy continues to violate the Constitution and the rights of students at UC-Berkeley.”

    Dhillon reiterated the charge that UC-Berkeley had used a vaguely-defined policy to discriminate against conservative speakers, noting that “In the old policy they called it the high-profile speakers policy,” whereas “in the new one they call it the major events policy.”

    [RELATED: ‘Free Speech Week’ ends early amidst potential lawsuit]

    In a September 30 statement, she argued that the new policy gives “bureaucrats and officials” illegal “content and viewpoint-based discretion,” claiming that outside of court proceedings, university officials “muse out loud” about the very actions their lawyers deny, and that arguments for “qualified immunity” are legally unfounded.

    “I’m disappointed to see that 30 years later, particularly at a public instruction like UC-Berkeley, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, university administrators deny students equal access to public resources on the basis of their viewpoints,” Dhillon told Campus Reform.

    She also made it clear that the fight will continue, however, vowing that “We will not rest until student voices are equally free to speak and be heard on the UC Berkeley campus, regardless of their political viewpoint, or the content of their speech."

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @SFarkas48





    Sandor Farkas

    Sandor Farkas

    Collegiate Network Fellow
    Sandor Farkas is a Collegiate Network Fellow at Campus Reform. Prior to starting this fellowship, he was a Tikvah Fellow. Farkas earned a degree in history from Dartmouth College, where he was editor-in-chief of The Dartmouth Review. Farkas also serves as an officer in the Virginia Army National Guard.
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