University of California Berkeley spent nearly $900,000 on protest patrol in the 2016-2017 school year. The campus typically allocates $200,000 a year to manage protests on campus. The money spent by the campus police was used for protest and demonstration response before and after events on campus. Costs incurred when the police determined that there would be a need for additional security measures.
Two major protests happened during the previous school year. The first being a protest over Milo Yiannopoulos’ speech on campus. Protests turned violent and out of control, resulting in the speech being cancelled. The second round of protests occurred when Ann Coulter was invited to speak by Berkley College Republicans. Campus police predicted a similar situation would occur if Coulter was allowed to speak on campus. Resulting in a cancellation of Coulter’s event as well. The campus police stated that previous to Coulter’s speaking engagement, they received word that violence would occur in opposition to her.
“For the Coulter event, there was quite a bit of pre-intelligence from opposing groups stating their intentions to engage in violence in our community, so we took measures to maintain campus safety. UCPD was not willing to allow a repeat of the unprecedented violence that occurred around the Milo Yiannopoulos event, if it could be deterred or prevented altogether.”
The university also stated that they were aware students were planning a violent protest in regard to Coulter’s appearance. Manu Meel, a member of BridgeUSA, a non-partisan organization that worked to plan the Coulter event, expressed his concern over the matter.
“The police are not necessarily at fault, nor are the students, but it’s external organizations coming to campus. Ensuring that there is a strong crackdown on those external forces such as Antifa will solve a lot of the issues regarding police funding, budgeting and the issues … making our campus almost a warzone,” Meel said.
The university and students on campus hope that promoting peaceful dialogue and productive protesting will improve in the coming year.
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(H/t The Daily Californian)