Update, 4:55 p.m. UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said the prospective “Free Speech Week” featuring Stephen Bannon, Milo Yiannopoulos and Ann Coulter is still in doubt because student organizers have failed to meet certain requirements laid out in the campus events policy, in a statement sent to Berkeleyside at 4:50 p.m.
Original story, 2:55 p.m. After weeks of rumors, a UC Berkeley student group has confirmed that former White House chief strategist and Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon will speak on campus later this month. His appearance will cap off a “Free Speech Week” also slated to include far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and conservative commentator Ann Coulter.
Bannon’s appearance on Sept. 27 will be funded in large part by Yiannopoulos, who called Bannon “the man who terrifies globalist and leftist culture warriors like no other.”
Although the conservative campus publication the Berkeley Patriot is involved in bringing the speakers to Cal, Yiannopoulos appears to be the architect of the Sept. 24-27 “Free Speech Week.” He announced he would be coming back to campus for such a “festival” after his February appearance in Berkeley was canceled amid a large antifa protest.
In a statement posted on his website, Yiannopoulos said at least 20 more speakers will be announced over the next two weeks. He has said conservative writer David Horowitz and activist Pamela Geller will be on the lineup as well.
“We’re very excited to host Steve Bannon. I think he’s one of the most coveted speakers out there,” Pranav Jandhyala, a member of the Berkeley Patriot staff told Berkeleyside. The group worked closely with Yiannopoulos, other speakers and the university to organize Free Speech Week, “a hard, hard task,” the sophomore said. He confirmed Coulter’s appearance as well.
In August, when talk of Bannon coming to Cal first began , UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said the Berkeley Patriot staff complied with all campus event policies when setting up the series of speaking engagements. The university cannot legally prevent any of the speakers from coming to Cal, he said.
Jandhyala declined to provide details about the location or timing of the Free Speech Week events. Yiannopoulos has said each day will focus on a particular theme, including feminism, Islam and Black Lives Matter. The last day, when Bannon is slated to speak, will have the theme “Mario Savio is dead,” according to Yiannopoulos’ statement. Savio was the student leader of the Free Speech Movement at UC Berkeley in 1964.
Jandhyala said he wants to put out a “call to action” to any speakers — conservative or liberal, he said — who “feel they’ve been denied a platform.”
“We invite you to come speak. We’ll make it happen,” he said.
Another conservative speaker, Ben Shapiro, is set to hold an event on campus this week. The author, who was invited by the College Republicans, will speak about “campus thuggery” at Zellerbach Hall on Thursday at 7 p.m. The university plans to take unusual measures to secure the area, establishing a security perimeter and closing six buildings during the event.