Controversial conservative author and pundit Ann Coulter will not be speaking at University of California at Berkeley as fears over violent protests prompted the event to be canceled.
The Young America's Foundation, which had originally organized the event, cancelled it in light of the expectation of further on-campus violence.
"After the university originally canceled her speech for Thursday and instead invited her to speak there next week, Coulter had vowed to speak anyway; with the university not offering a venue, campus Republican groups had been discussing her possibly appearing on a public plaza, where security would have been challenging," reported The Washington Post.
"Before Coulter's cancellation, the university was girding for potentially violent protests on campus on Thursday, when she was expected to give a speech, potentially on Sproul Plaza, a sprawling open area known for gatherings and demonstrations."
Here are five reactions to the cancellation, with a diverse group of people and organizations expressing dismay at the news of the Coulter speech not happening.
The conservative student group Young American's Foundation had originally invited Coulter to Berkeley to be part of their campus lecture program on Thursday.
YAF blamed the cancellation on the failures of campus officials to properly secure the University as well as meet equal access standards for right-wing speakers.
"Berkeley made it impossible to hold a lecture due to the lack of assurances for protections from foreseeable violence from unrestrained leftist agitators," stated YAF on Tuesday.
"Ms. Coulter may still choose to speak in some form on campus, but Young America's Foundation will not jeopardize the safety of its staff or students."
YAF is pursuing legal action against Berkeley, noting in its statement that it "is pressing forward with its lawsuit against UC-Berkeley, and looks forward to the day when First Amendment freedoms are enjoyed by conservative students."
Oklahoma Wesleyan University President Everett Piper wrote a column for The Christian Post in which he denounced the Coulter speech cancellation as the actions of a "snowflake rebellion."
"I am not writing to affirm or refute Ann Coulter or her views. I am writing to implore Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks — and all other leaders of America's educational community — to remember our industry's rich history of the liberal arts," wrote Piper.
"I am writing to plead with my colleagues to stand firm for the academy's millennia-old commitment to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of inquiry, and freedom of thought."
Piper went on to attribute the violent protests against Coulter and similar episodes to the modern American education system losing track of "timeless principles."
"We know that without the scale of 'self-evident truths' grounded in the 'laws of nature and nature's God,' every culture eventually finds itself subject to the rule of the gang or the tyranny of the individual," continued Piper.
"Recognizing this, scholars of all ages have confidently given their hearts and minds to the words, 'You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.'"
3. The ACLU
Despite strong ideological differences with Coulter, the American Civil Liberties Union is among those denouncing the cancellation of her speech at Berkeley.
ACLU National Legal Director David Cole denounced what he described as the "hecklers' veto" of Coulter's speech, calling the threats that led to the cancellation "inconsistent with free speech principles that protect us all from government overreach."
"Hateful speech has consequences, particularly for people of color, LGBTQ people, immigrants, and others who have been historically marginalized. But if the government gets to decide which speech counts as hate speech, the powers that be may later feel free to censor any speech they don't like," said Cole in a statement released Wednesday.
"For the future of our democracy, we must protect bigoted speech from government censorship. On college campuses, that means that the best way to combat hateful speech is through counter-speech, vigorous and creative protest, and debate, not threats of violence or censorship."
The bipartisan Foundation for Individual Rights in Education denounced the decision to stop the speech, arguing that the cancellation "establishes a genuinely dangerous precedent."
"Granting those willing to use violence the power to determine who may speak on campus is an abdication of UC Berkeley's moral and legal responsibilities under the First Amendment," stated FIRE on Wednesday.
"UC Berkeley must be properly prepared to host and protect speakers of all stripes. FIRE also calls for UC Berkeley's promised investigation to go forward with thoroughness and transparency, and that its findings be made public without delay."
FIRE also drew a parallel to the violent protests earlier this year at Berkeley that prompted a cancellation of a speech by controversial rightwing personality Milo Yiannopoulos.
"In the wake of the violence at UC Berkeley on Feb. 1, we ... counseled patience, given that UC Berkeley professed to have been caught off-guard and that it promised an investigation into what happened," continued FIRE.
"Nearly two months later, and after multiple incidents of political violence in the adjoining City of Berkeley, the university still appears to be unprepared to ensure the safety of a controversial speaker, attendees, or peaceful protesters."
5. Robert P. George
Princeton professor and former chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom took to social media to denounce the cancellation.
"When speaking events are cancelled under threats of violence, there is no free speech. The mob has been given censorial powers. We all lose," tweeted George, getting as of Thursday afternoon more than 750 likes and over 400 retweets.
George also tweeted: "Cancelling a speech under the threat of violence was wrong. It was the duty of the university & city to provide security. No heckler's veto!"