It seems UC Berkeley will be expanding on its “free speech week” with the Chancellor of the school, Carol Christ, promising to create a “free speech year”.
On a website recently created for the “event”, they include links to articles pertaining to free speech, their own campus policies in regards to guest speakers and safety, as well as a “timeline” of the “free speech movement”.
“Berkeley, as you know, is the home of the Free Speech Movement, where students on the right and students on the left united to fight for the right to advocate political views on campus. Particularly now, it is critical that the Berkeley community come together once again to protect this right. It is who we are.”
“Nonetheless, defending the right of free speech for those whose ideas we find offensive is not easy. It often conflicts with the values we hold as a community — tolerance, inclusion, reason and diversity. Some constitutionally protected speech attacks the very identity of particular groups of individuals in ways that are deeply hurtful. However, the right response is not the heckler’s veto, or what some call platform denial. Call toxic speech out for what it is, don’t shout it down, for in shouting it down, you collude in the narrative that universities are not open to all speech. Respond to hate speech with more speech.”
According to campus spokesperson Michael Dirda, the Office of Communications and Public Affairs began working on the project at the end of the summer and built the website on WordPress with no external costs over the last few weeks. The website will remain online for at least the next year.
While building the website, the office received feedback from a group of staff members within the Dean of Students’ office, Dirda said.
The website comes at a time when conservative speaker Milo Yiannopoulos is scheduled to return to UC Berkeley for “Free Speech Week” — a four-day-long event organized by campus student publication the Berkeley Patriot. Yiannopoulos’s previous campus event in February was canceled due to violent protests.
Dirda said the office believed that the campus community would benefit from having a “central hub” of information concerning free speech.
“I hope that the website will help people understand the university’s legal obligations and commitments to free speech as well as why we think it is a value that needs to be preserved,” Dirda said. “I also hope that it helps people realize that the campus recognizes the tensions that come alongside this belief.”