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January 3, 2017

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks

California Hall

University of California, Berkeley

Dear Chancellor Dirks,

We are writing to implore you to cancel a planned speaking engagement by Milo Yiannopoulos, who has been
invited by Berkeley College Republicans for February 1, 2017. We support both freedom of speech and
academic freedom on campus and realize that controversial views must be tolerated in any campus community
dedicated to open debate and opposed to censorship. Although we object strenuously to Yiannopouloss views
he advocates white supremacy, transphobia, and misogyny it is rather his harmful conduct to which we call
attention in asking for the cancellation of this event. We will enumerate some of his views below, but also then
focus on his conduct, the repetition of which would clearly violate the codes of conduct that operate to keep the
campus a harassment-free space for our whole community. We understand that if a decision to cancel were
based on the political viewpoints he holds, we ourselves could become subject to censorship under other
circumstances. We support robust debate, but we cannot abide by harassment, slander, defamation, and hate

As you may know, he has labeled Black Lives Matter a form of black supremacism and argues that the protest
movement should be labeled a terrorist organization; he refers to principles of diversity at college campuses as
anti-White racism. He has also denounced rape culture as a myth propagated by feminists aimed squarely at
undermining masculinity. More serious, however, was his reference to women as cunts at a recent event at
the University of West Virginia. He mocks campus cultures of inclusiveness and invites his audiences to
ridicule people with disabilities. At a talk at the University of Delaware in October, he referred to transgender
people as mentally ill, adding: Never feel bad for mocking a transgender person. It is our job to point out
their absurdity, to not make the problem worse by pretending they are normal. In the same speech, he
advocated fat-shaming. Apart from holding such noxious views, he actively incites his audiences to harass
individuals. In July of this year, Yiannopoulos was permanently banned from Twitter for what the organization
described as "participating in or inciting targeted abuse of individuals" he incited his followers to barrage an
African-American actress with hate speech. We urge you to consider the seriousness of this claim and what it
forebodes for his visit to Berkeley.
Yiannopouloss views pass from protected free speech to incitement, harassment, and defamation once they
publically target individuals in his audience or on campus, creating conditions for concrete harm and actually
harming students through defamatory and harassing actions. Such actions are protected neither by free speech
nor by academic freedom. For this reason, the university should not provide a platform for such harassment.

When Yiannopoulos visited the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee on December 13 th of this year, he spoke in
his public lecture about a transgender student at the university in derogatory ways, going so far as to project a
picture of this student during his lecture, one that was simultaneously broadcast on the Breitbart website. (Most
of his talks are live-streamed onto the Breitbart site, as the Berkeley talk is likely to be, if it goes ahead.) She
was in the audience and he projected an older photo of her, referring to her as he and remarking that "The way
you know he's [sic] failed is I can still bang him [sic]." He continued to ridicule and vilify her in front of the live
campus audience and the online audience. The student was so disturbed by this experience that she withdrew
from the university, feeling betrayed by the administration which had granted a platform to a speaker known to
operate in this way and failed to intervene to protect her from harassment. In a similar fashion, Yiannopoulos
often makes use of a target cam during his lectures which zooms in on students in the audience, projects their
images in front of the audience without first securing permission, as he speaks in derogatory and insulting ways
against them and to them. Students are not public figures, and they do not agree to have their likeness projected
in public or to be demeaned simply by virtue of attending an event. Moreover, Yiannopoulos is inciting (and
indeed, committing) harassment by singling out students as targets of derision for his followers. Such
harassment risks violating our obligations under Title IX to provide an environment free of sex and gender-
based harassment indeed, this speakers chronicled behavior sets a model for what we seek not to promote on
campus through our own anti-harassment compliance workshops and videos. It is our responsibility to ensure
that Berkeley students are not subjected to this same treatment on February 1.

The recent announcement that the campus administration is requiring that the Berkeley College Republicans
raise up to $10,000 for security costs of course in no way pre-empts the possibility that there will be incitement,
defamation, slander and harassment at this event. We have heard Dan Mogolufs explanation that there is little
more that the university can do, that the First Amendment prohibits the University from censoring events and
that campus regulations stipulate that Registered Student Organizations are separate legal entities from the
University. We are still left with questions we ask you to answer.

As we understand it, RSOs like the Berkeley College Republicans get a discount on the rental for Pauley
Ballroom. Has the university subsidized Yiannopouloss talk through this discount? How do you reconcile this
with our obligation to prevent sexual harassment and the named function of our OPHD, the office for prevention
of harassment and discrimination?

If the event goes forward, as we hope it does not, what does the administration plan to do should the speaker
harass someone in the audience? What measures in general will be taken when lecturers invited by students also
feel free to pass from protected speech to harmful conduct? The universitys obligation to protect the campus
community from harm ought to take precedent over contractual obligations with registered student
organizations, if and when an invited speaker has made it clear that harassment is characteristic of his

We direct your attention to several reports of his conduct as well as successful efforts on the part of other
universities to cancel his events, including the problems faced by universities that did not anticipate his
harassment tactics in advance. His talks scheduled at NYU, University of Miami, Florida State University last
month were all cancelled; the NYU administration cited concerns for community safety, and De Paul has issued
a statement claiming that he will not be invited back to campus. Other campuses, Yale and Columbia, have
postponed his visit, in Yales case indefinitely. You may find evidentiary support for our claims in these
various reports online:







We urge you to cancel the planned speaking event for Milo Yiannopoulos as soon as possible.


Elizabeth Abel, Professor, Department of English

Wendy Brown, Class of 1936 First Chair, Department of Political Science

Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor, Department of Comparative Literature

Ian Duncan, Professor, Department of English

Donna Jones, Associate Professor, Department of English

David Landreth, Associate Professor, Department of English

Saba Mahmood, Professor, Department of Anthropology

Linda Rugg, Professor, Department of Scandinavian and Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities

Elena Schneider, Assistant Professor, Department of History

Susan Schweik, Professor, Department of English

Estelle Tarica, Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Katrin Wehrheim, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics

Damon Young, Assistant Professor, Departments of French and Film and Media Studies
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Nils_Gilman UCB <nils_gilman@berkeley.edu>

Dear Professor Schweik,

Thank you for your note and expression of concern. I am writing in response on behalf of
Chancellor Dirks.

Mr. Yiannopoulos was invited to the university by the independent student group that is
hosting him, the Berkeley College Republicans. The campus administration wishes to make
clear that an invitation of this sort in no way suggests our endorsement of a particular point
of view, and we will continue to affirm our commitment to the values of diversity, equality,
and tolerance that underlie the greatness of Berkeley and, indeed, of our nation.

Registered Student Organizations at Berkeley receive the benefit of reserving space at the
Student Union free of charge for events, including presentation of invited speakers. Under
well-established law, the First Amendment prohibits the University from censoring those
events or banning speakers based on the viewpoints that might be expressed. Berkeley
Campus Regulations make clear that RSOs are separate legal entities from the University,
and RSOs are strictly prohibited from claiming that their activities are sponsored, endorsed or
favored by the University. So, it is the organization, not the University that is the "host" of this
event, since the University did not issue the invitation and has no authority to disapprove the
speaker. It is of course up to you whether you wish to take up the probity of this invitation
directly with the Berkeley College Republicans.

While we realize (and regret) that the presence of certain speakers is very likely to upset
some members of our campus community, the U.S. Constitution, and thus University policy,
prevent campus administration from barring invited speakers from campus based on the
viewpoints those speakers may express. Contrary to widely held beliefs, the courts have
made it very clear that there is no general exception to First Amendment protection for "hate"
speech or speech that is deemed to be discriminatory. Our Constitution does not permit the
University to engage in prior restraint of a speaker out of fear that he might engage in even
hateful verbal attacks.

While you are correct about NYU and DePaul, the legal situation is not analogous. Unlike
private colleges and universities, as a public institution the University of California must
respect the free speech guarantees of the First Amendment. In addition, at the University of
Miami and Yale, it was the relevant student groups, not the campus administration, that
cancelled or delayed Mr. Yiannopouloss appearance; the speaker himself delayed his event
at Columbia; and reports indicate that Mr. Yiannopoulos has, in fact, already appeared at
Florida State University.

I can assure you that the University and UCPD are highly attentive to safety concerns and will
not hesitate to act to ensure the security and protection of campus community members, as
well as the public at large. However, the University may not engage in prior restraint of
speech based on concern that a speaker's message may trigger disruptions. We also note
that at the heart of these constitutional rules is the objective of preventing opponents from
effectively shutting down expressive activity that they don't like, the "heckler's veto" as it is
often known. This, of course, should be of some concern for all who seek to advocate for any
particular point of view.

Sincerely, Nils

Nils Gilman
Associate Chancellor
Locally Designated Official
Chief of Staff to Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks
University of California, Berkeley

January 4, 2017

Dear Associate Chancellor Gilman and Chancellor Dirks,

Thank you for your rapid response. Your response, however, leaves several of our key questions unaddressed.
You are committed, as we are, to freedom of speech. But the Campus Code of Conduct draws a clear line
between the freedom that we as a community value and defamation or harassment. Mr. Yiannopoulos actions at
the UW Milwaukee campus and elsewhere crossed that line, and there is every reason to expect that he will
reiterate those actions on every stop of his tour. This administration claims to be profoundly concerned with
preventing harassment and the occasion for actualizing that concern is directly before you now. An unwavering
commitment to free speech and dissent does not oblige the campus to suspend its prohibition of harassment.

In our view, Mr. Yiannopoulos actions at UW Milwaukee and at other recent talks do not constitute expressive
activity, as you phrase it, but rather pass into the different legal category of harassment and incitement. Given
this precedent, the campus needs to clearly state how it intends to uphold our legal obligations under Title IX to
maintain an environment free of sex- and gender-based harassment.

Since Associate Chancellor Gilmans letter insists that the student organization that invited the speaker has sole
responsibility for the sponsorship of the event, we ask you to respond to the following questions: 1. What does
the administration plan to do should the speaker harass an individual in the audience? 2. Given that Mr.
Yiannopoulos' past actions do meet the definition of harassment (see attached student code paragraph 102.9), are
the organizers aware that they may be legally vulnerable for "aiding and abetting" the harassment of a fellow
student (see code paragraph 100.00)? 3. Will the campus administration take it upon itself to defend any legal
claims pertaining to such harassment, defamation, or to the likely Title IX violations should the talk go ahead? If
not, we urge the administration to alert the student organizers about their potential vulnerability in case of a legal
suit or code violation, keeping in mind that any member of the community may report witnessed harassment.
The right to free speech does not override the universitys legal responsibility to protect students from
harassment and to uphold the Campus Code of Conduct, which we also ask students including student groups
to abide by. We draw your attention to the following paragraph from the state-mandated sexual harassment
training course (emphasis added):

The law prohibits harassment that is discriminatory. Harassment is illegal when individuals are treated
differently based on their protected characteristics (race, sex, religion, and so on). Of course, just because
behavior isn't illegal doesn't mean it's appropriate. At the University of California, we hold ourselves to a
higher standard and strive to promote a culture where everyone is supported to reach their fullest potential. To
do that, we need to address problems before they hurt our community.
We consider it likely that both Code and Title IX violations will occur during the proposed talk at Berkeley (and
prior talks have been broadcast before an international audience). "Hate speech" is not the only way that speech
can be regarded legally as conduct. Any threat or incitement to injure, or any verbal action that produces a
hostile climate, is also arguably unprotected. What legal and administrative course of action does the university
plan to take to preempt the harassment of the university audience at this proposed event, and what course of
action will the university take in the event that a member of the university community is subject to harassment?


Elizabeth Abel, Professor, Department of English

Wendy Brown, Class of 1936 First Chair, Department of Political Science

Judith Butler, Maxine Elliot Professor, Department of Comparative Literature

Ian Duncan, Professor, Department of English

Donna Jones, Associate Professor, Department of English

David Landreth, Associate Professor, Department of English

Linda Rugg, Professor, Department of Scandinavian and Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities

Elena Schneider, Assistant Professor, Department of History

Susan Schweik, Professor, Department of English

Estelle Tarica, Associate Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Katrin Wehrheim, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics

Damon Young, Assistant Professor, Departments of French and Film and Media Studies

Some applicable sections of the Campus Code of Conduct are appended below (from

"The Chancellor may impose discipline for the commission or attempted commission (including aiding or
abetting in the commission or attempted commission) of the following types of violations by students (as
specified by University Policy 100.00, http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/coordrev/ucpolicies/), as well as such
other violations as may be specified in campus regulations..." (17, my bold)

"Student Organization
Unless otherwise stated, wherever this Code refers to student the same also applies to student
organizations. Student organization means any group or organization of students of the University of
California, Berkeley that has obtained official recognition as a student organization from an office or department
of the campus. Communications with student organizations will be directed to the president, principal officer,
student group signatory or other students designated by the group to act as an agent on behalf of the group." (16)
"102.09 Sexual, Racial, and Other Forms of Harassment (Interim)

Sexual, racial, and other forms of harassment, defined as follows: Harassment is defined as conduct that is so
severe and/or pervasive, and objectively offensive, and that so substantially impairs a person's access to
University programs or activities, that the person is effectively denied equal access to the University's resources
and opportunities on the basis of the persons race, color, national or ethnic origin, alienage, sex, religion, age,
sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, veteran status, physical or mental disability, or perceived
membership in any of these classifications...." (18)

"102.24 Terrorizing Conduct

Conduct, where the actor means to communicate a serious expression of intent to terrorize, or acts in reckless
disregard of the risk of terrorizing, one or more University students, faculty, or staff. 'Terrorize' means to
cause a reasonable person to fear bodily harm or death, perpetrated by the actor or those acting under the actors
control. 'Reckless disregard' means consciously disregarding a substantial risk. This section applies without
regard to whether the conduct is motivated by race, ethnicity, personal animosity, or other reasons. This section
does not apply to conduct that constitutes the lawful defense of oneself, of another, or of property." (20)

Note that even if the event is moved off-campus, students may still be culpable:

"Student conduct that occurs off University property is subject to the Code where it a) adversely affects the
health, safety, or security of any other member of the University community, or the mission of the University,
or ..." (17)

and note that instances of harassment can be reported by any witness:

"Any member of the faculty or staff, a student or any other person may file a complaint with the Center for
Student Conduct within sixty (60) days of the date the reporting party knew or should reasonably have known of
the alleged violation unless law or an external agency requires that information be withheld." (6)
The following UC Berkeley faculty have signed onto these letters after they were sent:

Gregory Levine, Associate Professor, Department of History of Art

Lauren Williams, Professor, Department of Mathematics
Jon Wilkening, Associate Professor, Vice Chair for Graduate Affairs, Mathematics
Janet Sorensen, Associate Professor, English
Leslie Salzinger, Associate Professor, Gender and Womens Studies
Khalid Kadir, Lecturer, International and Area Studies
Tamara Roberts, Associate Professor, Music
Cllia Donovan, Lecturer, Spanish and Portuguese
Elisa Tamarkin, Associate Professor, English
Julia Bryan-Wilson, Associate Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art
Jeffrey Skoller, Associate Professor, Film & Media
Dborah Blocker, Associate Professor, French, with an affiliation in Italian Studies
Rachel Morello-Frosch, Professor, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management &
School of Public health
Katherine Snyder, Associate Professor, English
Mark Goble, Associate Professor, English
F. Alberto Grunbaum, Professor, Department of Mathematics
Dan ONeill, Associate Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures
Soraya Tlatli, Associate Professor, Department of French
Barbara A. Barnes, Lecturer, Department of Gender and Womens Studies
Colleen Lye, Associate Professor, English
Charles Hirschkind, Associate Professor, Anthropology
Saba Mahmood, Professor, Anthropology
Ivonne del Valle, Associate Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
Daniel G. Chatman, Associate Professor, City and Regional Planning
Patricia Penn Hilden, Professor, Department of Ethnic Studies
Katherine Sherwood, Professor Emerita, Department of Art Practice
Charis Thompson, Professor, Department of Gender and Women's Studies
Ayse Agis, Continuing Lecturer, Gender and Womens Studies
Minoo Moallem, Gender and Womens Studies
Lawrence Cohen, Sarah Kailath Professor of India Studies, Department of Anthropology
Emiliano Gomez, Lecturer and Academic Coordinator, Department of Mathematics
Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor, Gender and Womens Studies
Ian Agol, Professor, Department of Mathematics
Joanna Picciotto, Associate Professor, English
Laura C. Nelson, Associate Professor, Gender & Womens Studies
Cori Hayden, Associate Professor, Anthropology
Hung-Hsi Wu, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics
Geoffrey G. OBrien, Associate Professor, English
Scott Saul, Professor, English
Kevis Goodman, Associate Professor, English
Mary Ann Smart, Gladyce Arata Terrill Professor, Music
Katherine Snyder, Associate Professor, English
Stephen A. Rosenbaum, John & Elizabeth Boalt Lecturer, School of Law
Jake Kosek, Associate Professor, Geography
Victoria Robinson, Ethnic Studies
Celeste Langan, Associate Professor, English
Hertha D. Sweet Wong, Associate Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of English
Alastair Iles, Associate Professor of Environmental Policy and Societal Change
Anne-Lise Franois, Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature
Davitt Moroney, Professor, Music; University Organist
Jean-Paul Bourdier, Professor, Architecture Department
Natalia Brizuela, Associate Professor, Spanish & Portuguese
Line Mikkelsen, Associate Professor, Linguistics
Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, Professor, History of Art
Shannon Steen, Associate Professor, Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies
Morris W. Hirsch, Professor Emeritus, Mathematics
Jenny Harrison Professor, Mathematics
James Vernon, Professor, History
Debarati Sanyal, Professor, French
Christine Rosen, Associate Professor, Haas School of Business
Waldo E. Martin, Jr., Morrison Professor of American History and Citizenship
Robin Einhorn, Preston Hotchkis Professor in the History of the United States
Kristin Hanson, Associate Professor, English
Patricia Baquedano-Lopez, Associate Professor of Education
Joseph Wolf, Professor Emeritus, Mathematics
You-tien Hsing, Professor, Geography
Glynda Hull, Professor, Education
Richard B. Norgaard, Professor Emeritus of Energy and Resources
Ellen L. Simms, Professor of Integrative Biology
Katherine Snyder, Associate Professor, Department of English
Kathleen Donegan, Associate Professor, Department of English and Associate Dean of Arts and
Trinh T. Minh-ha, Professor of Rhetoric and of Gender & Womens Studies
Suzanne Guerlac, Professor, Department of French
Mel Y. Chen, Associate Professor, Department of Gender and Womens Studies
Margaret W. Conkey, Department of Anthropology
Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby, Professor, History of Art
Mariane C Ferme, Professor, Department of Anthropology
Lyn Hejinian, John F Hotchkis Professor of English
Michael Watts, Professor Emeritus, Geography
Antonio Montalban, Associate Professor, Mathematics
Samera Esmeir, Associate Professor, Rhetoric
Louise Fortmann, Professor Emerita, Dept of Environmental Science, Policy and Management
Joseph Lavery, Assistant Professor, Dept. of English
Lynn Huntsinger, Professor, Dept Environmental Science, Policy, and Management
Ramona Naddaff, Associate Professor, Rhetoric
Daniel Boyarin, Taubman Professor of Talmudic Culture, Near Eastern Studies and Rhetoric
Gillian Hart, Professor Emerita, Geography
Charles C. Pugh, Professor Emeritus, Mathematics
Miryam Sas, Professor and Chair, Comparative Literature: Professor of Film & Media
Mark Anderson, Professor of Architecture
Darieck Scott, Associate Professor, African American Studies Dept
Juana Mara Rodrguez, Professor, Gender and Women's Studies
Nadia Ellis, Associate Professor, English
Susan Ervin-Tripp, Professor Emeritus, Psychology
Todd P. Olson, Professor, History of Art
Peter Glazer, Associate Professor, Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies
Lisa Wymore, Associate Professor, Chair, Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies
Below are copies of the further communication between the
administration and our group of faculty:

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Nils_Gilman UCB <nils_gilman@berkeley.edu>
Date: Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 2:55 PM

Dear Professor Rugg,

While we certainly share your concerns, we do not believe that Mr. Yiannopolous's prior conduct in
the one instance you reference gives the University a basis on which to ban him from speaking on
campus or to take disciplinary actions against students who have invited him here.

At the same time, we are of course mindful of our obligations to combat discrimination on campus.
Though we don't necessarily agree with your legal analysis, we will continue to work to remedy
any adverse impact of even constitutionally-protected expression that violates our principles by
providing resources and by continued efforts to foster a campus culture of inclusion and tolerance.
But those efforts cannot include suppression or punishment of speech however disturbing it may
be to some members of our community.

Nils Gilman
Associate Chancellor
Locally Designated Official
Chief of Staff to Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks
University of California, Berkeley
January 9, 2017

Dear Chancellor Dirks, Associate Chancellor Gilman, EVCP Greenwell, VCEI Nasir, and EVCP Christ:

We write to follow up on our correspondence of last week regarding the invitation to Milo
Yiannopoulos. Our letters and yours do not seem to be speaking the same language. We cite
evidence of harassment; you refer us to questions of protected speech. We ask questions about
preventing violations of the Code of Conduct and potential consequences for any violations that may
occur; you characterize us as seeking to punish students merely for issuing an invitation. You suggest
that we misinterpret the Code of Conduct and the University's legal obligations to prevent harassment,
but do not explain how. Rather than deepening our misunderstandings across further rounds of email,
we ask for a meeting with the five of you to clarify our concerns on behalf of the campus community,
and to hear the administration's interpretation of its political and legal responsibilities in this ugly

We point out too that our letters of last week have now acquired the signatures of more than one
hundred members of the faculty dismayed and confused by the administration's statements on this
matter to date. We copy the full list of current signatories below. We hope that you will take the chance
to converse with us as an opportunity to assure our colleagues and the larger Berkeley community of
the campus' commitment to the individual dignity of each of its members--a dignity that is manifested
in the right to speak freely, and upheld by the repudiation of defamatory and harassing conduct.

Yours sincerely,
<< 10 original signatories who had not replied separately >>

Complete list of current signatories: << see list above >>