DAVIS — There has been a major development in a lawsuit against the University of California, school officials and Berkeley police.
On Tuesday, a federal judge denied the school’s request to dismiss the case against them, which stems from protests on UC Berkeley’s campus that turned violent.
“The Berkeley case caught our attention because there was real bloodshed, real violence and real innocent victims,” said attorney Shawn Steel with the Republican National Committee.
Steel represents four people who claim they were assaulted on Berkeley’s campus the night conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was set to speak. The lawsuit alleges university administrators told police to retreat, which allowed angry protesters to attack those who came to hear Yiannopoulos.
“There was no police protection and the students were told to go down a certain path. It turned out to be a very violent gauntlet,” Steel said. “A young conservative on most American campuses are really in trouble.”
Steel says the UC Berkeley episode is a symptom of a larger problem. He claims conservative ideas are not welcome on college campuses and those opposed are willing to get violent to silence them.
“A lot of students on campus are not comfortable sharing their beliefs if they’re conservative out of fear of retribution, out of fear of violence,” said Ryan Gardiner, chairman of the Davis College Republicans. “We’ve received death threats simply for speaking out.”
The Davis College Republicans’ events featuring conservative speakers, including an event with Yiannopoulos, have also been canceled and disrupted because of violent protests.
“We always say that free speech is important because without conservative speakers or outside perspectives students would never be introduced to ideas that they’re not familiar with,” Gardiner said.
Gardiner told FOX40 it should be any universities’ first priority to keep its students safe no matter what their political beliefs may be. He hopes this lawsuit holds his school more accountable to free speech.
The University of California’s media office did not return FOX40’s calls or email requests for comment on Tuesday’s court ruling.