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As Berkeley welcomes Free Speech Week, a look at role of the school throughout history of protest

by AirTalk®

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A protester is arrested by Alameda County sheriff during a demonstration outside of Zellerbach Hall on the U.C. Berkeley campus on September 14, 2017 in Berkeley, California. The protests were a response to a scheduled speech from conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Starting Sunday, University of California, Berkeley will accommodate Free Speech Week, a four-day event organized by the Berkeley Patriot, a conservative student publication.

The tentative line-up includes conservative figures such as Anne Coulter, Stephen Bannon, and Milo Yiannopoulos. This comes on the heels of a visit from conservative figure Ben Shapiro, who incited a wave of demonstration on campus.

An epicenter of the free speech movement, Berkeley has had a long history of protesting since the Vietnam-war era. Since Donald Trump’s election there have been a number of violent outbreaks on the school's campus and in its surrounding areas.

How will school administrators react to this upcoming Free Speech Week? What’s the role of Berkeley throughout history in terms of student protests? How do faculty members handle students who feel threatened? Host Larry Mantle sits down with Dan Mogulof, UC Berkeley Chancellor spokesman, Déborah Anne Blocker, associate professor of French, on the past and future of student activism at Berkeley.


Robert Cohen, a professor of history and social studies at New York University; co-editor of “The Free Speech Movement: Reflections on Berkeley in the 1960s” (University of California Press, 2002)

Dan Mogulof, assistant vice chancellor and spokesman at UC Berkeley

Déborah Anne Blocker, associate professor of French; she signed the boycott letter and intends to teach her two small classes off campus

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