UC Berkeley will pay $70G to conservative group to settle free speech lawsuit

After more than a year of litigation, the University of California, Berkeley, has settled a lawsuit with the Young Americas Foundation and the UC Berkeley College Republicans.

Campus conservatives accused the university of bias in the process of bringing high-profile speakers to campus. The original lawsuit revolved around the cancellation of an event with Ann Coulter. An amended version of the lawsuit included roadblocks initiated by the university for an event with Ben Shapiro.

The Department of Justice filed a statement of interest backing the campus conservatives. The crux of their argument revolved around two campus policies that they claim violate students’ First and 14th Amendment rights: an unspoken "High-Profile Speaker Policy" and an on-the-books "Major Events Policy."

“This Department of Justice will not stand by idly while public universities violate students’ constitutional rights,” Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand said at the time.

In the settlement, UC Berkeley agreed to the following terms set by YAF:

1. Pay YAF $70,000.

2. Rescind the unconstitutional “High-Profile Speaker Policy.”

3. Rescind the viewpoint-discriminatory security fee policy.

4. Abolish its heckler’s veto — protesters will no longer be able to shut down conservative expression.

Under these terms, UC Berkeley will no longer be allowed to place a 3 p.m. curfew on conservative events or relegate conservative speakers to remote or inconvenient lecture halls on campus while giving left-leaning speakers access to preferred parts of campus.

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