April 26 (UPI) — A federal judge this week ruled that the University of California, Berkeley must face a lawsuit that accuses the campus of discriminating against conservative speakers.
U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney said Young America’s Foundation, a conservative youth organization based in Tennessee, and Berkeley College Republicans adequately alleged that the university charged excessive and unreasonable restrictions on conservative speakers, Courthouse News reported.
Chesney made the decision after previously dismissing the lawsuit in October on grounds that the plaintiffs did not make a convincing argument for discrimination. But the plaintiffs re-filed and now have the chance to proceed.
“We’re very pleased that our lawsuit against UC Berkeley officials in their individual and official capacities is moving forward,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Harmeet Dhillon. “We look forward to litigating these issues.”
UC Berkeley spokesperson Dan Mogulof said the school denies discriminating against conservative speakers.
“The campus strongly contends that the fees charged were lawful and appropriate, and this ruling does not conclude otherwise,” Mogulof told the Daily Californian.
YAF and BCR originally filed the lawsuit in April 2017 after UC Berkeley postponed an event featuring conservative author Ann Coulter scheduled from that month to September 2017. After backlash ensued, the university changed the postponement until May. Coulter ended up canceling the appearance.
“I’m very sad about Berkeley’s cancellation, but my sadness is greater than that,” she tweeted at the time. “It is a dark day for free speech in America.”
UC Berkeley said its decision to move the Coulter event was due to protests turning violent weeks before, when conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos visited the campus.