The University of California, Berkeley has finally settled a lawsuit with two conservative groups — the Young Americas Foundation and the UC Berkeley College Republicans for $70,000.
The conservatives filed a lawsuit against the university over a year ago, accusing them of discriminating against their campus speakers. Two conservative commentators, Ann Coulter and David Horowitz, cancelled their speeches in the spring 2017 after the university decided to move their evening speeches to daytime hours at a building far away from the center of campus. Conservative radio host Ben Shapiro spoke at the university in September 2017 after paying a $9,162 security fee that was challenged in the lawsuit.
According to the plaintiffs, the university didn’t set the same restrictions for liberal speakers.
Under the settlement, big events on campus will require sponsoring groups to obtain insurance and in some cases search those in attendance. The groups will only have to pay security fees if the event is held in a major performance venue. The settlement additionally prevents UC Berkeley from charging security fees based on the concerns that the “viewpoints, opinions, or anticipated expression” of the speakers or their sponsors “might provoke disturbances.”
UC Berkeley will also no longer be allowed to impose a 3 p.m. curfew on conservative events or place conservative speakers in remote lecture halls on campus.
“This settlement is a huge win for the Berkeley College Republicans and really all student groups on campus,” Matt Ronnau, President of the Berkeley College Republicans, said. “This is a huge win for the 1st Amendment, and I am proud of the work that the men and women of the Berkeley College Republicans have put in to achieve this victory.”