Berkeley student gov denounces conservatives, but not Antifa
- The University of California, Berkeley’s student government recently voted to condemn the upcoming “Free-Speech Week” while refusing to label Antifa a violent organization.
- Despite their fears that conservative viewpoints represent a physical threat to students, the senators explicitly refused to denounce Antifa violence, fretting that it might create the impression that Antifa members are violent.
The University of California, Berkeley’s student government recently voted to condemn the upcoming “Free-Speech Week” while refusing to label Antifa a violent organization.
In a near-unanimous decision, The Daily Californian reports that the Associated Students of University of California (ASUC)—UC-Berkeley’s official student government—voted 19-1 in favor of a measure to “condemn Milo Yiannopoulos and his Free Speech Week event.”
Free Speech Week is a four-day long event set to start Sunday in response to the riots that shut down campus when Yiannopoulos was first scheduled to speak there in February.
The event is a collaboration between Yiannopoulos and a campus publication called the Berkeley Patriot featuring speakers such as Steve Bannon, Ann Coulter, David Horowitz, and “every speaker banned by Berkeley in the last 12 months,” according to Yiannopoulos.
However, Senate Resolution 13—explicitly titled “Condemning ‘Free Speech Week’ and Demanding the UC Berkeley Administration Prioritize Student Safety and Academics”—expresses the ASUC’s concern that allowing the conservative speakers on campus will not only prove disruptive, but will actually jeopardize student safety.
This isn’t the first time the ASUC has condemned conservative speakers, coming shortly after the body rebuked the school for using university resources to protect Ben Shapiro at his recent event.
Despite their willingness to declare conservative viewpoints a threat to students’ physical safety, though, the senators explicitly refused to condemn the radical left-wing Antifa movement for its “past and potential violence,” even though Antifa members were responsible for inflicting over $100,000 in damage to Berkeley’s campus during the riots that shut down Yiannopoulos’ previous speaking event.
Notably, the Department of Homeland Security formally recognizes Antifa as a group that engages “domestic terrorist violence,” according to Politico.
“There are mixed feelings about…Antifa and what they do and their actions here on campus,” ASUC Senator Rizza Estacio explained/
Senator Juniperangelica Cordova-Goff, meanwhile, expressed concerns that labeling Antifa a violent group would send the message that Antifa members engage in violence.
“Generalizations are really dangerous,” she remarked. “I don’t want a bill that once again perpetuates the idea that everyone is violent that is anti-fascist.”
Many prominent Democrats, however, are beginning to lose patience with the violent tactics practiced by Antifa, saying it is time to view it as a gang.
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, for instance, has claimed that it’s time to “classify them as a gang,” and even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said they “deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.”
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