Here’s What Ronald Reagan Did When College Kids Went Ape At UC-Berkeley

from – The Federalist – by Donna Carol Voss

The University of California at Berkeley, the cradle of the free speech movement, just last week cancelled yet another conservative speaker. The college’s Young Republicans had invited Ann Coulter to speak on April 27. Campus officials cited “security concerns” as their reason for cancelling Coulter’s speech, but Coulter says it was all they had left after “imposing ridiculous demands” that hadn’t scared her away.

They demanded she speak off-campus; she acceded. They demanded she speak during the day when students are in class; she acceded. How mad are Berkeley officials that even though they cancelled her, she plans to speak on April 27 at Berkeley anyway? It’s almost like she has courage and a backbone.

Clearly, UC-Berkeley officials have neither, and this is not news. When the Young Republicans invited former Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulis to speak in February, campus officials cancelled his speech a few hours before it was to start, also due to “security concerns.” They then hid behind their oak-paneled desks while violent protesters tore down metal barriers, broke windows, set fires, hurled rocks at police, attacked bystanders, and damaged a construction site.

Police were reportedly told to stand down and take no action against the violence. An attorney for the union representing UC-Berkeley police said, “When these rioters saw that there was no action taken against them, it emboldened them into acting more aggressively.” Indeed. When protesters were done demolishing the campus—to the tune of $100,000—they moved on to smash windows of local businesses.

What a Real Leader Does When Facing Petty Thugs

Where is Ronald Reagan when we need him? He would have put a stop to it all right quick. Reagan had made campus unrest at Berkeley one of his major campaign issues when he announced his candidacy for California governor in 1964:

[D]o we no longer think it necessary to teach self-respect, self-discipline, and respect for law and order? Will we allow a great university to be brought to its knees by a noisy dissident minority? Will we meet their neurotic vulgarities with vacillation and weakness? Or will we tell those entrusted with administering the university we expect them to enforce a code based on decency, common sense, and dedication to the high and noble purpose of that university?

Not unlike another wildly popular, yet wildly unpopular politician, Reagan was elected partly to restore law and order. A group of protestors put the governor to the test in 1969.

They had been using a vacant plot of land for protests against the Vietnam War and decided to block the university from developing it. The day in May 1969 when the university attempted to erect a fence around the plot of land is called “Bloody Thursday.” A rally called to protest the action drew thousands and soon turned into a riot. Reagan ordered the Berkeley police and California Highway Patrol to shut it down.

A campus publication tells what happened next: “[T]hree students suffered punctured lungs, another a shattered leg, 13 people were hospitalized with shotgun wounds, and one police officer was stabbed. James Rector, who was watching the riot from a rooftop, was shot by police gunfire; he died four days later.”

Then Reagan Doubled Down

In an extremely controversial move, for which he never apologized, Reagan declared a state of emergency and sent in 2,200 National Guard troops. He enacted a curfew and banned public assembly for two weeks. The National Guard patrolled the streets of Berkeley, dispersing any crowd of four or more. It wasn’t pretty, but they restored order.

There is a classic, should-be-in-the-Smithsonian clip of Reagan at a press conference after the fact with university administrators. He says: “Those people told you for days in advance that if the university sought to go ahead with that construction, they were going to physically destroy the university.”

Someone in the crowd shouts that Reagan should have negotiated with the students. Reagan, with the incredulity of someone who understands that youth don’t run the world for a reason, says: “Negotiate? What is to negotiate? All of it began the first time some of you who know better and are old enough to know better let young people think that they have the right to choose the laws they would obey as long as they were doing it in the name of social protest.”

To underscore the point, Reagan got up and walked out of the room. They don’t make ‘em like that anymore.

The university eventually caved to the People’s Park protesters, long after Reagan was out of office. They caved to the Yiannopoulis protesters in February. Now they’ve caved to the Coulter protesters. Cave, cave, cave, cave, cave. Every time they cave, they put another nail in the coffin of self-discipline, decency, common sense, and respect for law and order.

Where is Ronald Reagan when we need him?

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5 years ago

I say we get the young republicans off the campus and blow it up!!!

Thomas H
5 years ago

I remember in the early 70s when all the protesting/violence/criminal activities of the liberal students came to a sudden end at Kent state. One of the student leaders, talking to the cameras, said something to the effect of “We see that our ways are no longer effective, so we will become your teachers, your politicians, and your judges and make you do our bidding”. Somehow, I knew this to be true, so I warned everyone in the decades since, that, unless the good do something, these liberals would win. I was laughed at or told by everyone that they were “too busy doing their own thing”. In under 40 years it all came true. I hope those people had a good time – NOT!

5 years ago
Reply to  Thomas H

Was only out of college for a year when Kent State happened
I remember some of those people you reference from back then.
I guess some liberals never grow up

Stephen P.
5 years ago

After eight years (2008-2016) of our being led by a powder-puff presidency, the recent destructive power of a gaggle of thugs comes as no surprise. Peaceful discourse is obviously not a standard acceptable to the inane, liberal mentality of today; hence, Berkley et al. ought to bear the moniker “les cages aux folles” and not institutions of higher learning.

Dennis Stewart
5 years ago

Why don’t majorities have equal protection under the law?

5 years ago
Reply to  Dennis Stewart

When college officials and State Governors can’t control (potential) violence and crimes are committed — including destruction of property and resisting legitimate law enforcement), the US Constitution states Federal troops (the National Guard) can be called in to protect Americans ‘from all enemies, foreign and domestic.’ These sleaze-bag liberal educators and California government dogs (with apologies to canines) cannot take over one of the U.S. states. Sorry. If they want to be socialists, get OUT. GTFO. I suggest they try Communist China, Russia, Venezuela, Argentina, Nigeria, Somalia, Ethiopia, etc. — lots of places they can experience first hand what dictatorial socialism and anarchy are really like.

Also, the Federal governments should cut off all funding to these renegate universities and sanctuary cities. Hit ’em in the wallet — you’ll see how quickly they change their minds. I think Trump will do that when he has a little spare time.

God bless America, our troops and our law enforcement officers.

Tom Wilde
5 years ago

The College officials cancelled those speeches because of “security concerns”??

Oh, yeah, right. They created and empowered radical Left student organizations and are now concerned that they might go out and hurt people and destroy things.

I’m so-o-o touched by their concerns.

Liberals might be too blind and stupid to see who and what owns them and what they are actually begging for. But I am not. The want Communism and are using the same methods that Communists have used for over a hundred years now to get it.

There ya go, college kiddies – politics 101 in 2017.

5 years ago

Lee you state that the constitution does not allow to expel a state from the union, so are we talking constitutional amendment? I know the South tried it and it did not work. There must be some avenue where the good citizen can push such an action without starting a war.

Ivan Berry
5 years ago
Reply to  Karen

Unconstitutional laws should be Nullified if States had worthy leadership; Constitutional laws cannot be lawfully Nullified.
However, since the Compact between the States formed the general government by Ratifying the Constitution, once any State breaks the provisions, according to Contract and Common law, they should be subject to expulsion. But with lawyers’ tricks and legal fabrication, who’s to know what can or cannot be done?
The Southern Confederation did leave the Union, but were made to rejoin by force or to remain a conquered people subject to Martial Law.
Lincoln saved the Union at the point of a gun.

Lee Boyland
5 years ago

It is important to note that Reagan was governor of California, not the president. Maintaining law and order is the governor’s job. Reagan did and Brown will not.

Governor Brown reflects the will and attitude of voting Californians who appear to want to create the Socialist State of California and are doing so. The Constitution does not provide a mechanism for a state to leave the union, nor for the states to expel a member state of the union.

We are sailing in uncharted waters.

5 years ago
Reply to  Lee Boyland

Then we need a new boat! Lol

5 years ago
Reply to  Lee Boyland

good point he about being governor.

5 years ago

The hypocrisy of the Left
Accusing the Trump administration of being Facist
And then to make their point go out as violent and masked thugs and vandals.
And to make matters worse
Loretta Lynch, Holder and others decided to restrain and shackle our law enforcement agencies
Much of the world is out of kilter and California is exhibit one

W Kellermann
5 years ago
Reply to  Hen3ry

AMen. ALthough it comes as no surprise , after years of support for the radical left by the so-called political leaders of California. THe sad truth is that we put the radicals in political office so that not only do they not surpress this type of behavior, they encourage it.

John Sand
5 years ago

Reagan shrunk in size to become the wimp that is Jerry Brown. Shame on California voters for enabling this milk-toast of a governor.

5 years ago
Reply to  John Sand

John Sand, you must be far too young and ignorant to be able to have common sense enough to see a good president from a horrible one. Reagan brought this country out of the pit as is President Trump. If you want to live elsewhere, there’s the door, and make it snappy. You think you have it so bad here? Your desire for oppression & a backwards, barbaric way of life eagerly awaits you elsewhere, say the Middle East?! Because it would seem that you need government interference with every aspect of your life. Probably stemming from your parents spoiling you rotten & not teaching you how to be an independent & responsible adult & thinker. You have no idea how good you have it under our current administration.

5 years ago
Reply to  Roses11

Roses, I think you misread Sand’s comment. He’s saying that the governor’s office has deteriorated from the great Reagan to the slug that holds it today.

5 years ago
Reply to  Rick

That is what I got from John Sand’s statement also. Brown is the bottom pit of Reagan’s strength and upper level governing.

Ivan Berry
5 years ago
Reply to  Roses11

School was to teach you to both read and write. You got the writing part, but you sure messed up on reading. Try reading John’s post one more time and make apology where warrented.

Wayne Peterkin
5 years ago

I really don’t give a rat’s fanny whether these are college kids, high school kids, or anyone else. Criminals should be arrested, charged with felonies when appropriate, and prosecuted. There is no excuse whatsoever for violence of any kind on or off a college campus, and if local authorities do not demand that any protests be peaceful then they should be replaced with authorities who are responsible to the entire public. Free speech applies to all of us, not just the radical fringe.

James C. Sauer
5 years ago
Reply to  Wayne Peterkin

Amen! So true.

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