The University of California, Berkeley's decision to block another conservative lecture, this time featuring popular author Ben Shapiro, rightfully sparked a fresh round of disgust among free speech advocates on Wednesday.
The school is under heavy fire from conservatives for a series of First Amendment controversies that unfolded over the course of the last school year, even facing a lawsuit from Young America's Foundation and the Berkeley College Republicans over Ann Coulter's canceled lecture in April. Between the riots that blocked Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking and the university's decision to cancel Coulter's lecture, Berkeley has become a high-profile battleground of the contemporary campus speech movement.
During a Senate hearing last month, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, criticized the school in his remarks decrying the state of free speech in higher education. In response, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., ardently defended her state's flagship university.
"I know of no effort at Berkeley, at the University of California, to stifle student efforts to speech," she said at the time, continuing, "And if there is a specific effort, I would certainly appreciate it if people brought that to my attention."
Ben Shapiro is happy to help.
"If there is no effort to stifle free speech at Berkeley," Shapiro responded in an email to the Washington Examiner, "why has Berkeley failed to protect Milo Yiannopoulos' event, cancelled Ann Coulter's event, and now makes excuses about lack of availability for a speech already cleared by the College Republicans?"
"If Feinstein is so unconcerned about this, she should push her fellow Democrats in California to sponsor legislation requiring the suspension or expulsion of students who utilize violence to prevent others' free speech," he concluded.