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UC Irvine shortens but won't lift campus ban on Muslim group, students say

The suspension of a Muslim student group at UC Irvine was upheld Friday by university officials, but the recommended yearlong ban was cut in half, the Muslim group announced, meaning the group will be able to begin participating in campus activities in December.

The Muslim Student Union was appealing the campus ban that was handed down earlier this summer following a protest by several students during a February speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren.

The union has maintained that it did not organize the protest, though many of its officers and members participated.

In maintaining the suspension, the university relied on that participation, which it said made the appearance of the student union's endorsement for the protest difficult to overcome, said Reem Salahi, the group's attorney.

The group will be on probation until December 2012. The university has yet to comment.

During a news conference Friday, Muslim Student Union representatives continued to maintain that the suspension amounts to collective punishment. Incoming union Vice President Hadeer Soliman said members have received hate mail and endured personal attacks as a result of the ban.

Given what she described as a rising tide of anti-Muslim hate in the country, Soliman said the suspension sends "the wrong message at the wrong time."

-- Raja Abdulrahim


Comments () | Archives (39)

Student groups are not ALLOWED to voice protest on campus? Really?

Soliman is worried about anti-muslim hate? If so, he and his group should adopt behavior that is not disrespectful and offensive to others in the campus community. If you want respect and acceptance, one has to be prepared to give it as well.

Xicanoboy1331, it would help your understanding of this matter if you had clicked on the link under "protest by several students" in the second paragraph. They didn't just "voice protest" -- they obnoxiously disrupted a speech that many people wished to hear. In other words, they restricted the free speech rights of the speaker and the rest of the audience. So it's about their behavior, not their speech. If they had remained outside and made the same statements, no one would have been arrested. Their right to free speech does not trump anyone else's.


The Free Speech Movement was supported by the administration at Cal?

I support the students' rights to voice their opinion, but the university has to make some attempts to "stop" that sort of behavior. Imagine if there was an implicit acceptance of protesting speakers at any event. Who would go to UC Irvine to talk if they were going to get insulted?

Of course student groups are allowed to protest......unless of course they are protesting Israel, land of the chosen people. Wake Up America!

Heckling is a college tradition going back a long time. Perhaps UCI should familiarize itself with its history.

The "students" who disrupted a speech on campus should have been arrested for disturbing the peace. When anyone in the audience screams and shouts so loud and so long that the speaker is unable to speak and the rest of the audience is unable to listen, then the "students" should have been immediately arrested. The administrative procedure by the school to suspend the offending group is fine but where were the campus police and campus security guards to provide more consequences for the bad behavior by the individual bad actors? That type of disruptive behavior should not be allowed in the United States.

"members have received hate mail and endured personal attacks as a result of the ban"

Does the MSU leadership need to see the youtube video of their own group's action? the MSU behavior was disgusting, an attack on campus free speech, hateful and personal. I honestly don't understand their hypocrisy.

Good for UCI for not caving into pressure to take away the suspension. No matter what group did this, they should be suspended. Certain religious groups shouldn't get special treatment because of there's a wave of animosity toward them in the nation. I find it arrogant that the group would even suggest that they should get off easy because of this. You knew what you were doing was wrong, so learn from it and deal with the suspension in a mature way. Why do I say they knew it was wrong? Look at this quote from the "protest by several students" link above:

"But despite the constant interruptions, there was also a strange routine to the disturbances. A student would stand up and yell his statement followed by both cheers and jeers from the crowd. Then, as if on cue, he would make his way to the aisle where waiting police officers led him out of the room. 'They were very cooperative, they rose, they spoke and they began to leave their seats,' Lawhon said. 'Because they had been told what would happen if they did this.'”

they should ban them for life.nobody with any kind of sense wants them around.ban the bible thumpers too.

Why don't those extreme hate individuals learn to respect other people's believes and religions. Did those ignorant students really think they would get away with something so ignorant and stupid. They need to leave the campus and go to etiquette school instead of UC Irvine. Jeez - How foolish they must have looked!

What this Muslim group was calculated, they were aware if their actions and punished according. In case anyone has every noticed in the US government if someone shout out like that when the President is speeking they are escorted out. We have a freedom of speech in this country but we need to be discplined to "not shout fire" in a movie theatre..

We should embrace our freedoms in this country, be thankful we have them and be prepared to pay the consequences when we abuse them. PERIOD!

Bravo that students, not all Muslim, demonstrated against the Israeli Ambassador! Israel seized their land illegally in 1948, throwing people out of their homes and off the land on which they and their ancestors had lived for many generations.

Until Palestine is restored, the Israelis *should* be held up as the land-grabbers that they were and are.

All you needed to know about Islam "the religion of peace" you learned on 9/11.

It's not called "The Religion of Purpetual Outrage" for nothing.

So, UCI has cut the ban on the MSU in half which gives the UCI MSU plenty of time to engage in their annual anti-Jewish propaganda Hatefest which they conduct every May.

Go to the UCI library and look at the UCI yearbooks. Every other on-campus group has photo's of the members and their names, EXCEPT the MSU. The MSU has pages in the yearbooks, but, they never identify or show their members. Why? Because they are a subversive hate group with ties to the muslim brotherhood.

The quote below from the article above, is a case of the perpetrator claiming to be the victim, but, that is their style, to claim oppression, when, in fact they are the oppressors:
"Incoming union Vice President Hadeer Soliman said members have received hate mail and endured personal attacks as a result of the ban.
Given what she described as a rising tide of anti-Muslim hate in the country"

Didn't Tea Partiers yell and scream and insult our Representatives at town halls last year? There are tons of youtube videos of them doing that.

If you're a white Christian, it's patriotic, but if you're a Muslim person of color, it's treason.

Ignorance. Ignorance. Ignorance.
This article reminded me why I DECLINED my acceptance into Irvine. Very pathetic. Irvine was really my top chose, I've always wanted to go there. Great location, great people and great school. But this is just not right. Not fair. There are groups and other people who do much worse than this. These poor people were punished ONLY because they were Muslim. That's it. They don't even look at the facts or care to understand.

Ignorance and hatred and hypocrisy.

The Muslim Students Union at UCI has been threatening and intimidating the few Jewish students at UCI for years and in spite of appeals to administration no one ever did anything about this. Finally UCI administration did something and now they are backing down. What a bunch of cowards. Yes, people have the right to their opinions/free speech and to protest, but they do NOT have the right to impinge on the rights of others - whether its to walk accross campus without feeling threatened or to be allowed to listen to a speaker without that being rudely disrupted. So people like xicanoboy1331 and David Gallard, clearly neither of you have a good understanding of the situation, and you, David, are clearly an anti-Israeli jerk, who has already made up his mind on this issue and cannot be open minded enough to hear both sides. Maybe you should actually read some of the comments from people below, who were actually there at the time of this incident and who clearly have a much clearer understanding of the infringements of people rights perpetrated by the MSU.

When speakers Norman Finkelstein, Hedy Epstein, and Alison Weir came on campus and spoke this year, hecklers jeered and interrupted their speeches and shouted insults multiple times. Not a single school official or police officer intervened on their behalf and they were left to respond to the hecklers for themselves. Israeli ambassador Michael Oren, a man in a powerful political position that is an apologist for Israeli war crimes in the Gaza strip, is welcomed and treated like royalty by UCI administration and already had police officers intervening at the first interruption.

As as UCI student, frankly it's embarassing to be attending a university in which progressive values are taught in the classroom but politicians who show blatant disregard for human rights are invited to campus as distinguished guests.

To Gallardo:

If you didn't make a knee jerk reaction and researched the disturbance, you'd find the MSU overstepped free speech and decency. Wake up Gallardo! Your ignorance and hate is unbecoming a homo sapien.

Yes, there is a rising trend in dislikeing Muslims. What do you think caused that? Did protesting at that particular speaker increase or decrease the likeability of Muslims? Please answer in complete sentences and turn in your paper at the front of the class.

Somehow I doubt that those commenters that are attacking UCI's MSU for, in their own words, an "attack on campus free speech" or "disruptive behavior [which] should not be allowed in the United States" would extend the same sort of criticism to, say, tea party conduct at townhall meetings.

There is an interesting contrast/comparison to be made between this issue to the issue described in this article: http://www.alternet.org/story/146616/what_if_the_tea_party_were_black

Students can voice protest, but not when it comes to criticizing Israel.

I'm waiting for the UCI Republican group to invite Daniel Pipes and spew his anti-Islam hate. It will be interesting to see then if the UCI administration bans the Republican group.

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