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Ensure public safety and free speech -- Carl Silverman

May 2, 2017 GMT

I agree with Leonard Pitts Jr.’s column on Monday, ” Coulter was right about ‘sad day for free speech’,” about Ann Coulter not being able to speak at the University of California-Berkeley.

But freedom of speech wasn’t the only issue at stake on that day. Another important responsibility of both the university and city government was at risk -- the ability to ensure public safety.

Maybe UC-Berkeley administrators feared they weren’t prepared to control the crowd well enough to prevent violence and possible human injury or even death. Maybe they needed more time to beef up their security system.

Here’s one way to resolve this conflict between the two imperatives: Publish the text of the speech in school and city newspapers (in print or electronically) and allow more time to improve security.

When that’s accomplished, invite the speaker to return.

Carl Silverman, Madison