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UCLA prevented conservative students on campus from hosting the founder of Jihad Watch, Robert Spencer, for a pro-Israel event, according to the student group. 

“I am deeply disappointed in UCLA’s failure to protect our First Amendment rights,” Matthew Weinberg, chairman of UCLA Young Americans for Freedom chapter, said in a YAF press release. “All we wanted was a successful Pro-Israel event where people of all backgrounds and viewpoints can engage in the free exchange of ideas and hear a different perspective not heard across university campuses, and the school made that impossible. This is nothing but an act of pure cowardice.”

The Young American’s Foundation, a nonprofit conservative youth organization, invited Spencer to deliver a speech on Wednesday, but “the doors of the Bruin Viewpoint Room were locked,” according to YAF. 

Fox News Digital previously reported that UCLA has not responded to the YAF chapter’s request to host Spencer, despite filing for approval weeks prior.

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Police arrest multiple protesters who gathered in a UCLA campus parking garage on May 6, 2024, in Los Angeles. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Weinberg told Fox News Digital earlier this month that he initially did not receive any word regarding the application from school leaders. He did eventually meet with administrators overseeing student engagement, but was told “there is no timeframe” for approving Spencer as a speaker. 

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“The fact that the school prioritizes agitators, some who aren’t even students, that are clearly violating campus policy and have been physically assaulting Jewish students, over students who engage in the free exchange of ideas like people in our chapter to me is absurd and demonstrates cowardice. It demonstrates a lack of moral clarity and this needs to be addressed,” Weinberg said earlier this month. 

Weinberg said he was planning to carry on with the event and was hoping “for the best.”

Protesters on UCLA campus

Anti-Israel students set up an encampment in support of Gaza on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles on May 1, 2024. (Grace Yoon/Anadolu via Getty Images)

On Wednesday, however, university officials told the chapter “that the event would need to be moved to a low-traffic, remote location – an unacceptable last minute change that would have significantly impacted the event’s attendance and impact,” according to YAF’s press release, which said the ordeal is “a clear violation of students’ constitutional rights.” 

The group’s press release added that “for weeks, UCLA administrators have stalled the approval process in a clear attempt to ensure the event would not happen.” 

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University officials reportedly initially told the group that “it would be too dangerous to host an event” that holds contrary views to agitators on campus who had established an anti-Israel encampment on campus. YAF and Mountain States Legal Foundation pushed back on the school that not granting permission to host Spencer was an “unconstitutional use of the heckler’s veto.” 

Robert Spencer

 Robert Spencer, founder of Jihad Watch (Ida Mae Astute/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

The conservative student group argued that legal pressure appeared to “prompt the university to reconsider” their plan to stall the event, but “unfortunately, this did not turn out to be the case.”

“While the chapter boldly withstood these attacks, and things appeared to be moving forward, there was simply nothing they could do about the locked door, which administrators refused to open.”

Fox News Digital reached out to UCLA for comment on Sunday, but did not immediately receive a reply. A school official did tell the College Fix that “there is misinformation circulating that the Young America’s Foundation event at UCLA on Wednesday evening was canceled by the university.”

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“This is incorrect,” the spokeswoman said. “The event took place in the designated location after it shifted to a closed, recorded event as proposed by the organizer and agreed to by UCLA.”

Weinberg pushed back on the school’s response, saying the event never took place, as did YAF spokesman Michael McGonigle in comment to Fox News Digital. 

“The statement from UCLA is not correct. To be clear, our event did not take place,” McGonigle said. 

Palestinian flag over crowd of UCLA students

Anti-Israel students rally on the UCLA campus on Oct. 12, 2023. (Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

 Weinberg lamented to the College Fix that UCLA’s campus has become hostile to Jewish students. 

“The beauty of this event is that all are welcome, and we highly encourage students with opposing viewpoints to come and ask Robert any questions they would like. After all, the only way to move forward and create peace is to have an open dialogue,” he told the College Fix.

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“Bringing Robert Spencer allows us to present an alternative perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict as well as the Israel-Hamas war that is not typically heard on college campuses,” Weinberg said.

Sign reads 'death to Zionism' on the UCLA campus

Graffiti at the Powell Library on the UCLA campus on April 29, 2024, in Los Angeles. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

President of Young America’s Foundation, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, told Fox News Digital that YAF “will prevail against UCLA in court.” 

“Conservative students should have the same rights as the pro-Hamas students who have routinely obstructed and violently disrupted the UCLA campus. UCLA canceled YAF’s access to the lecture hall while allowing protestors to freely roam the campus. Like we did against UC, Berkeley, YAF will prevail against UCLA in court!”

Spencer added in YAF’s press release that schools such as UCLA are “radioactive wastelands” of left-wing politics. 

“UCLA and other universities today are not institutions of higher learning; they are radioactive wastelands of hard-left indoctrination,” Spencer said.

Anti-Israel protests have broken out on college campuses nationwide, notably in New York City and at UCLA and USC in Los Angeles. Anti-Israel protests on Columbia University’s campus spiraled last month, when agitators were seen on camera with a poster outlining that Jewish students on campus would become Al-Qasam’s “next targets,” referring to terrorist organization Hamas’ military wing. That same weekend, a rabbi at Columbia warned Jewish students to leave campus immediately until the situation was quelled. 

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Protests also broke out on UCLA’s campus last month, including agitators establishing an encampment demanding the elite public school cut financial ties with Israel. Following a nine-hour standoff between radicals on campus, police were able to clear the encampment earlier this month and made hundreds of arrests. 

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Weinberg joined “Fox & Friends” following police dismantling the encampment, saying the school was “encouraging students to engage in violence.”

“This is a disgrace. To me, this looks like a war zone,” Weinberg said. “It demonstrates to me that the school is run by a bunch of cowards… It demonstrates to me the lack of moral clarity, and it also demonstrates to me the degradation of our society.”

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“They are encouraging students to engage in violence,” he said. “I know some students on the undergraduate level whose professors said, ‘Don’t worry about class. Just go to the protests and stand against Israel.'” 

Fox News Digital’s Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report. 



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