The University of California, Berkeley has ramped up security as it braces to host conservative commentator Ben Shapiro Thursday night, the latest polarizing figure to raise concerns of violence on the famously liberal campus.
Authorities plan to seal off the campus’ central hub, Sproul Plaza, with a “closed perimeter” around several buildings including where Shapiro is scheduled to speak to a sold-out, 1,000-person audience. There will be “an increased and highly visible police presence,” the university said in a statement.
For the first time in two decades, officers have been authorized to use pepper spray to control violence after the city council modified a 1997 ban at an emergency meeting this week.
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