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UC Irvine seeks to suspend Muslim student group

UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake addressed a gathering of more than 600 members of the county's Jewish community, who expressed concern about what they perceived as anti-Semitic activity on campus, much of it involving Muslim students.
The Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine should be suspended for one year for its involvement in repeated disruptions of a February speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, according to a disciplinary report released by the university.

The Muslim Student Union has appealed the recommendation.

The speech about U.S.-Israeli relations was interrupted 10 times by students who got up and yelled out things like, "Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech."

Eleven UC Irvine and UC Riverside students were arrested and cited for disturbing a public event, but none have been charged. The student group maintained that the disruptions were done by individuals and not organized by their group, but the report cited internal Muslim Student Union e-mails and meeting agendas that indicated they planned a disturbance.

The group's attorney Reem Salahi emphasized that a suspension has not yet been implemented but was still disheartened by the report’s recommendations. “It’s collective punishment,” she said. “You have an entire Muslim student body that’s being punished for the actions of a few."

-- Raja Abdulrahim

Photo:UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake addressed a gathering of more than 600 members of the county's Jewish community, who expressed concern about what they perceived as anti-Semitic activity on campus, much of it involving Muslim students. L.A. Times file photo.

Comments () | Archives (174)

I think that UC should think very carefully about what it is proposing. I have been to, and heard of, numerous cases where speakers on UC campuses have been shouted down by groups who disagree with the speaker or the message they have. Whether it was Chicano studies activist protesting an anti affirmative action speaker or antiwar protesters trying to stop someone speak regarding their support for the war.

What too often happens, sadly, is that certain speech is protected ( if the speech is deemed "good") and other speech is fair game to hecklers and disruption. Orwell would clearly recognize this ( as we should to) for what it is.

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. George Orwell

Who would have thought, UC Irvine would be leading the way on this issue. I say good for them, and if they stick to their guns, I would send my children there for their education, in a heartbeat.

I dont pretend to know whats going on between israel and palestine...But to punish the whole Muslim Student Union is wrong. Yeah what the those individuals was wrong, tastless, and otherwise dumb. Those jackholes should kicked out of school...thats it. This shouldn't be a witch hunt towards Muslim students

Why do Mulsims feel that, they are special? Among the majority of immigrants Muslims have created more problems to our US, than anybody else. Good for the University taking action. Dont let them get away with their cries of "Freedom".......of what?

if the tables were turned ...I dont think you would see Jewish hecklers ... students or not ..being accused of such wrong doing and threatened w/suspension.....freedom of speech goes both ways....disruptive behavior should be treated appropriately

I loathe religion in general but I really think islam needs to be curbed. As much as I disagree with Israel, I cannot even begin to fathom how all these muslims can justify the actions of terrorists who commit atrocities in the name of their so called god.


So much for the sacred college tradition of heckling. I think this is clearly an over-reaction.

Can an American student do this in a Muslim Country?

Everybody know the answer, that is NO!

those UC Irvine and Riverside students, MUST respect any allied of USA, don't matter
Israel or any other country; other way go home.

Mostly of 9/11 participants were too 'ingrateful' students.

P. Caceres

what a joke. presidents get heckled, congressmen get heckled, secretary of states get heckled. they are escorted out and that's it; not arrested.
talk about silencing critics of Ambassador Michael Oren. a proven war criminal in south lebanon.

Just like any American citizen has the right of free speech, so do these students. And suspending the Muslim Student Union because of the actions of these few students is wrong.

@montecristo5000 - Nothing wrong with free speech and shouldn't the one giving the speech expect to do so without interruption?

I agree with the decision that UCI has made, BRAVO

Wow. So much hatered in so few posts. I bet that if the speakers weren't israeli/jewish the jeering--which is an expression of free speech in this country, mind you--would have been dismissed as a lively discussion the type of which is--or maybe was--routine in American college campuses.

Cecilia, you should stitch your mouth closed as you obviously have no respect or belief in free speech. Should I say you just offended me and should be punished???? This is what our country is about, speaking out.... You don't have to agree, but you should very well respect others opinions. We have professors at Universities touting LaRaza and taking violence to the streets, but some students cannot protest in some way against the Isreali Ambassador?? Pulezzeeeeee!!!!!! And no I'm not Muslim!

These are not a free speech, these are hatred speech. They don't have free speech on their own religion, why they demand free speech here!

montecristo5000 - nobody is challenging this group's right ot free speech. But free speech does not entitle a person or group to preempt the exercise of free speech by another person or group. Just as free speech does not protect loud cell phone conversations in a movie theater, free speech does not allow this student muslim group to attend another group's event and shout down their speaker. That's not free speech - that's just poor class.

We tried to listen to Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, but couldn't. Free speech montecristo5000? The Ambassador COULD NOT exercise his right to free speech at this event. The Muslim Club could of protested outside because the group of us INSIDE wanted to listen to the presentation.

Free Speech is okay. What's not okay is to violate other people's free speech. Michael Oren has a right to speak also. These idiotic students were trying to deny him that by continually interrupting him. It's like going into a mosque and disturbing the imam saying "Islam oppresses women" every time he started his prayer.

I've been lucky enough to have been able to attend speeches and presentations by many Ambassadors, emissaries and foreign executives of different stripes and levels over the years. In every forum, even unpopular remarks and opinions were treated with respect. Somehow university students think they are exempt from this. It's not a question of politics, opinions or political correctness. It's simply a question of manners. The kids in question should be banned from participating in any campus activities other than studying. I don't think banning the organization is a right and necessary move.

To all the anti-semites siding with the terrorist-supporters, this was HATE speech which is different from free speech, even at a university.
Hitler was proud of the MSU that day. UCI should have abolished this despicable group of freedom haters years ago.
That half the comments are calling UCI anti-Muslim is ridiculous.

UCI has every right to punish many based on the actions of a few. It happens everyday.
Silly example yet it's relatable: driving while talking on the phone. If no one had caused any negative reactions, we'd all be able to do it. I've never caused an accident on the street but I still can't talk on my phone.

You may not like the accent in which it was spoken. You may even believe that more Free Speech can be achieved by collectively punishing anybody loosely related to those who at times speak up, as it were, "inappropriately"...

But the fact remains that propagating murder is not protected under the rules of Free Speech. It's fascist propaganda which UC Irvine should be ashamed ever to have conceived of suckling at its alma mater to begin with.

As a former UCLA student, I have seen this type of behavior go on all of the time at public gatherings and in the classroom, usually by angry, wannabe right-wing students who don't like what so-called "leftist" speakers or professors are doings. During the dark days of the bush administration, these types of disruptions were commonplace and were usually encouraged by off campus forces like David Horowitz. Interesting that unlike the Associated Press version of this incident, the L.A. Times version does not report that the investigation against the MSU was encouraged by the off-campus orange county jewish american federation, which filed a FOIA petition to get access to the MSU's communications and documents and make them public. There are larger forces at work here in the effort to shut the MSU down, irrespective of whether their members participated or not, or whether they violated campus policies or not. The timing of this decision is also interesting given the recent events that have been muted in the mainstream media, such as the Flotilla Massacre and the silencing of Helen Thomas. Earlier this year, UC Berkeley's efforts to initiate a boycott of israeli-affiliated corporations was also shut down when members of its student government were effectively coerced into changing their original stance in favor of the boycott. Makes you wonder what forces are putting pressure on the UC, especially in the midst of their own budget crisis when student fees are skyrocketing, course offerings are shrinking, and administrators and professors are trying to maintain their lucrative relationship with the donors and institutions that fund their programs and institutions. And no, its not a conspiracy, its just politics. The students who spoke out against Oren probably felt they had to given Israel's genocidal policy in gaza, which was exposed once again by the flotilla massacre, and the fact that the larger news media doesn't exactly practice free speech when it comes to criticizing Israel, as Helen Thomas learned.

I am curious to know if Reem Salahi or the Muslim Student Union as a whole has condemned the disruptions of what they claim is a "few" individuals acting on their own. I am sure the answer is "no", just like the majority or the mainstream of Islam who do not condemn what they claim are "radical" or "extremist" Muslims committing terrorists acts in the name of Islam.

Is there any link between the disruptions and the Student Union other than that they are Muslim and individual members? Since there were arrests, they who know the individuals were. Specific punishment seems to be more direct and sustainable. Gets the message across very directly.

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