University of California at Berkeley professors announced plans to boycott campus for “Free Speech Week” to protest of the presence of White nationalists, The Daily Californian reports.
Seven African American professors wrote a letter encouraging the campus to boycott “Free Speech Week,” on September 24 to 27 in an event organized by the university’s conservative paper, The Berkeley Patriot. While the paper hasn’t confirmed all of the week’s speakers, they have confirmed former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. Professors said student safety is their chief concern. The letter was signed by 130 staff members, The Californian reports.
Ironically, Bannon is slated to speak on the day named “Mario Savio is Dead.” Savio was a leader of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley in the 60’s, when political speeches were banned on campus. Prior to building the movement, Savio had participated in Freedom Summer and taught at a Freedom School in Mississippi. Bannon, Ann Coulter, and Milo Yiannopoulos are all scheduled to appear on the same day.
Professors cautioned the campus against allowing White nationalists on campus, citing the riot that occurred in response to Yiannopoulos’s earlier scheduled appearance. That visit was canceled. African American Studies professor Leigh Raiford says the boycott will prevent what happened the last time, as the school had to shut down so that faculty and staff could safely get home. Raiford said, “We’re not safe, frankly. Part of this [boycott] is enabling the students who don’t feel comfortable for a variety of reasons. … Part of our motivation is that the administration has not made choices that are respectful of the people who study and work here.”
SOURCE: The Daily Californian