Following more than a year of hard-fought litigation in the hostile Ninth Circuit, Young America’s Foundation secured victory for free speech against the University of California, Berkeley. Through YAF’s lawsuit and subsequent settlement agreement executed over the weekend, UC Berkeley agreed to the following terms set by Young America’s Foundation:
1) Pay Young America’s Foundation $70,000.
2) Rescind the unconstitutional “high-profile speaker policy.”
3) Rescind the viewpoint-discriminatory security fee policy.
4) Abolish its heckler’s veto—protestors will no longer be able to shut down conservative expression.
This landmark victory for free expression means UC Berkeley can no longer wantonly treat conservative students as second-class members of its community while ignoring the guaranteed protections of the First Amendment.
No longer can UC Berkeley place a 3:00 p.m. curfew on conservative speech. No longer can UC Berkeley ban advertisements for Young America’s Foundation-sponsored campus lectures. And no longer can UC Berkeley relegate conservative speakers to remote or inconvenient lecture halls on campus while giving leftist speakers access to preferred locations.
Further, the policy that allowed Berkeley administrators to charge conservative students $20,000 for security to host Ben Shapiro—an amount three times greater than the fee charged to leftist students to host liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor—is gone. YAF and UC Berkeley agreed to a fee schedule that treats all students equally. Unless students are handling money or serving alcohol at an event, the security fee will be zero.
This win for free speech—a blow to radical Antifa mobs—means university facilities will be available to students on a first-come, first-served basis. No longer will the community’s reaction to speech be factored into decisions regarding lecture venues, meaning intolerant leftists cannot use the “heckler’s veto” to determine who is allowed to speak or where they’re permitted to appear.
Transparency and accountability have replaced the notoriously murky process previously enforced by UC Berkeley administrators because Young America’s Foundation, our intrepid counsel led by Harmeet K. Dhillon, and the fearless students in Berkeley College Republicans wouldn’t flinch in this David-versus-Goliath fight.
“Young America’s Foundation is thrilled that, after more than a year of UC Berkeley battling against the First Amendment rights of its own students, the University finally felt the heat and saw the light of their unconstitutional censorship,” said YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown. “YAF’s landmark victory for free expression—long squelched by Berkeley’s scheming administrators who weaponized flawed policies to target conservatives—shows that the battle for freedom undertaken by YAF on campuses nationwide is a necessary one.”