UC Berkeley Student Leader: Police Protecting Campus Free Speech Brings ‘Trauma’ To Minorities

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By Lukas Mikelionis | 12:21 pm, May 1, 2017

A University of California student senator who deemed the cancelled Ann Coulter speech a “violent conversation” has complained the police presence on campus brings “trauma” to minority students.

Ann Coulter

On Sunday, a student-run publication, The Daily Californian, published an article about the security measures UC Berkeley and the local police department took after the protest broke out last Thursday following the cancellation of Ann Coulter’s speech. According to the article, almost 300 police officers were present in order to prevent any potential violence.

The conservative firebrand was originally set to speak at the university last Thursday. The UC Berkeley administration offered to delay the event, citing problems finding a safe venue—an offer Coulter rejected.

A day before the event, the speech was cancelled due to disputes with the administration that refused to find the venue. “There will be no speech,” Coulter wrote to Reuters on Wednesday, claiming two conservative groups who backed her event are no longer supporting her. “I looked over my shoulder and my allies had joined the other team.”

Juniper Angelica Cordova-Goff

A student Senator of Associated Students of University of California (ASUC), Juniper Angelica Cordova-Goff took issue with police protecting the campus.

The third-year Berkeley student told the student publication that the police’s “continued, heightened presence re-traumatizes students who come from communities with complicated relationships to the state.”

“I do not think campus safety must rely on the police,” she added. “I think (UCPD) must be active in recognizing the trauma their presence alone brings to some students and work to limit visibility while remaining an open resource to those who choose to use it.”

Earlier this month, after reports emerged claiming Coulter’s speech was cancelled (a decision UC Berkeley later reversed), Cordova-Goff also told the LA Times she was happy Coulter’s speech was cancelled because her speech attacks minority communities such as African-Americans, Latinos and LGBTQ.

She also said the cancellation of Coulter’s speech isn’t an attack on free speech: “I don’t think that anyone’s free speech is being impaired. I think sometimes the free speech amendment is used as a way to frame violent conversations as a matter of free speech.”

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