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Crosscurrents

'Free speech week' an expensive, provocative bust at UC Berkeley

Berkeley_Free_Speech_Week_protest_20170924-8845.jpg
Pax Ahimsa Gethen /
/
Wikimedia Commons
Protesters and supporters of Donald Trump and Milo Yiannopoulos fill Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley, September 24, 2017.

 

Carol Christ called this a "free speech" year when she took over as the UC Berkeley chancellor. But a conservative student group called Berkeley Patriot co-opted that language in advertising a "free speech week" – which was supposed to be taking place right now.

 

Yet when alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulis arrived on campus on Sunday, surrounded by a reported $800,000 worth of security paid for by the university, only about 150 people showed up for what turned out to be a 15-minute speech.

 

That's about $5,333 per person — at a time when the university is facing a budget deficit. The rest of the events for “free speech week” were canceled by the organizing Berkeley Patriot group.

 

We wanted to know what students and staffers think of these demonstrations and disruptions. So we sent KALW'sAtemu Aton and Amber Miles to campus to find out.

 

"I don't think it's an issue of free speech so much as an issue of hate speech."

Click the audio player above to listen to the fully story. 

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