Concrete barriers, metal detectors and clusters of police officers were in place Thursday afternoon as UC Berkeley officials prepped for the 7 p.m. appearance of conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro.
The event at Zellerbach Hall appeared to do what UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ has said she hoped for when she declared a free speech year on campus: provide an open exchange of ideas. Shapiro’s speech included a question-and-answer session.
Security cost the university an estimated $600,000. Police from all nine Bay Area counties were brought in to keep order on and off campus and to secure Zellerbach and the surrounding area, which was off-limits to anyone without a ticket to the event.
The large contingent of law enforcement was a deterrent, said Margo Bennett, of the UC Berkeley police.