“Bill Maher is a blatant bigot and racist who has no respect for the values UC Berkeley students and administration stand for,” the petition reads. “Bill Maher’s public statements on various religions and cultures are offensive and his dangerous rhetoric has found its way into our campus communities.”
UC Berkeley student government senator Marium Navid and Khwaja Ahmed launched the petition Thursday, according to The Daily Californian. Ahmed is a member of the Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian Coalition, which is a supporter of Navid.
In a subsequent interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Navid said she respects Maher’s right to free speech, but that a commencement address would give him greater authority. “The problem is that when you bring him to the university, you’re pretty much putting him into a privileged position,” she said. You’re raising his voice.”