Poll: Should federal education funding be cut when college students protest opposing viewpoints?

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Protesters march with signs in Berkeley, California on February 1, 2017. Violent protests erupted on February 1 at the University of California at Berkeley over the scheduled appearance of a controversial editor of the conservative news website Breitbart. (Photo credit: Josh Edelson /AFP/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump weighed in on Twitter last night in response to violence that erupted on UC Berkeley’s campus. Trump said he would cut federal education funding when rioters violently protest against free speech.

Milo Yiannopoulos, who was invited to speak by Berkeley College Republicans, is an editor of Breitbart News. Administrators cancelled the event about two hours before his speech, CNN reported, “amid the violence and destruction of property and out of concern for public safety.”

Black-clad protesters were wearing masks, throwing commercial-grade fireworks and rocks at police. It was reported that Molotov cocktails ignited fires, and student union center windows were smashed, which is where Yiannopoulos was to hold his event. The anarchist group, known as the “Black Bloc” has been causing problems in Oakland for years. Six people were injured in the riot.

Violent protesters tore down metal barriers, set fires near the campus bookstore and damaged the construction site of a new dorm. One woman wearing a red Trump hat was pepper sprayed in the face while being interviewed by CNN affiliate KGO. She was able to respond that she was OK after the attack. University police placed campus buildings on lockdown.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the violence and unlawful behavior that was on display and deeply regret that those tactics will now overshadow the efforts to engage in legitimate and lawful protest against the performer’s presence and perspectives,” UC Berkeley said in a statement.

“While Yiannopoulos’ views, tactics and rhetoric are profoundly contrary to our own, we are bound by the Constitution, the law, our values and the campus’s Principles of Community to enable free expression across the full spectrum of opinion and perspective,” it stated.

Should federal education funding be cut when college students protest opposing viewpoints?