Indian-American lawyer says she will keep fighting UC Berkeley on students’ free-speech issue


Harmeet Dhillon, a California Republican Party leader and attorney by profession, says she will appeal a court decision dismissing the case she brought against University of California, Berkeley, when it succeeded in canceling speeches by conservative speakers Ann Coulter and David Horowitz.

After riots shut down an event headlined by controversial British alt-right commentator and author, Milo Yiannopoulos, at University of California, Berkeley in February, the Young America’s Foundation (YAF) and the Berkeley College Republicans (BCRs) invited Ann Coulter and David Horowitz to speak on campus.

However, that was cancelled after administrators imposed numerous regulations fearing violence on campus if Coulter came. That prompted Dhillon to file a lawsuit in April on behalf of YAF and BCRs, accusing the university of using “unconstitutionally vague” policies to prevent Coulter and Horowitz from speaking, and of infringing on student free speech based on ideological differences.

Now, the Dhillon Law Group is vowing to update its complaint after a judge dismissed its lawsuit Sept. 29.

According to the online news outlet, Campus Reform, United States District Court Judge Maxine Chesney ruled in favor of the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but allowed YAF and BCRs 30 days to amend the complaint and re-file.

Dhillon explained to Campus Reform that the school had “created a new policy” and that “the judge wants us to respond,” adding that the updated complaint will “address how the new policy continues to violate the Constitution and the rights of students at UC-Berkeley.”

Dhillon maintains that UC-Berkeley had used a vaguely-defined policy to discriminate against conservative speakers, noting that “In the old policy they called it the high-profile speakers’ policy,” whereas “in the new one they call it the major events policy.”

In a Sept. 30 statement, she Dhillon alleged that the new policy gives “bureaucrats and officials” illegal “content and viewpoint-based discretion,” and alleged that outside of court proceedings, university officials “muse out loud” about the very actions their lawyers deny, and that arguments for “qualified immunity” are legally unfounded.

“I’m disappointed to see that 30 years later, particularly at a public instruction like UC-Berkeley, the birthplace of the Free Speech Movement, university administrators deny students equal access to public resources on the basis of their viewpoints,” Dhillon told Campus Reform.

“We will not rest until student voices are equally free to speak and be heard on the UC Berkeley campus, regardless of their political viewpoint, or the content of their speech,” she asserted.



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