UC Berkeley Faculty Call for Boycott of Class During MILO’s Free Speech Week

Elijah Nouvelage/Getty
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty

Over 75 faculty members at UC Berkeley have signed a pledge to boycott classes during MILO’s “Free Speech Week,” which is scheduled to take place the week of September 24.

Former Breitbart editor MILO is set to host his “Free Speech Week” at UC Berkeley this month, but it won’t go forward without a pushback from the institution’s faculty. A letter, which was co-written by several professors, asks the UC Berkeley faculty to cancel classes for the week and tell their students to stay home.

“Faculty who decide to hold class during this week, in the face of these explicit threats, should not penalize students who are afraid to come to campus,” the letter reads. “It is unfair and discriminatory for faculty to schedule exams or require attendance during this week. Such an expectation forces students to choose between their physical safety, their mental well being, and a grade.”

Associate Teaching Professor of African American Studies Michael Cohen argues that it is unethical to ask black students to be on campus during MILO’s Free Speech Week. He claims that the event is a “clear threat” to public higher education.

“This is a clear threat to public higher education,” Cohen said. “People are coming to humiliate others and incite violence… The boycott is a refusal to allow this to happen on our campus.”

“We’re not afraid of Milo, Ann (Coulter) or Bannon’s words. We have a deep anxiety over the violence that their followers bring in response,” Cohen added. “Chancellor Christ’s idea that we can have these people on campus is a fantasy and a dangerous one.”

Despite Cohen’s claims, Democrat Nancy Pelosi condemned the violent actions of far-left antifa protesters in Berkeley in August, who have explicitly endorsed the use of violence to achieve their political ends. “Our democracy has no room for inciting violence or endangering the public, no matter the ideology of those who commit such acts.  The violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted,” Pelosi said in a statement.


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