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UC Davis faculty members want charges dropped against Muslim students who disrupted speech at UC Irvine [Updated]

About 20 current and retired faculty members at UC Davis have joined a group of 100 UC Irvine faculty members in asking the Orange County district attorney to drop criminal charges against 11 Muslim students who disrupted a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the United States.

The UC Davis faculty members sent a letter to the district attorney’s office Tuesday stating that the university campus should be a “place for civil discourse and debate.”

[Corrected at 10:02 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the letter was sent Wednesday.]

On Feb. 4, the attorney’s office charged 11 students from UC Irvine and UC Riverside with misdemeanors for the incident, in which Israeli ambassador Michael Oren was repeatedly shouted down during a speech.

Since then, various individuals and organizations, including the Jewish Voice for Peace, have spoken against the charges, saying that the students and the Muslim Student Union had already been disciplined by the university. The organization has denied planning the protest.

The letter stated that the criminal charges will have a “chilling effect” on free speech. “To respond to such an act with criminal prosecution is excessive,” it stated.

Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas said in a statement Feb. 4 that the students were charged because of an "organized attempt to squelch the speaker." He said the students "meant to stop this speech and stop anyone else from hearing his ideas, and they did so by disrupting a lawful meeting."

The students are charged with two misdemeanor counts, including conspiracy to disrupt the speech. If convicted, each faces up to six months in jail.


UC Irvine seeks to suspend Muslim student group

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

UC Irvine students who protested Israeli ambassador likely to face grand jury probe

-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Orange County

Comments () | Archives (28)

How much more "political correctness"s are we going to give radical Islam?

here you can see how elite college professors think they shoudl again have their way - not withstanding the law - and I say let the DA have the public's day in court and then the judge can decide how innocent children should be punished - if only a slight tap on the wrist -



Send those idiot muslims to jail. We can't even built a catholic church to the mecca land.

You know what has a '“chilling effect” on free speech.'? Shouting down a speaker. The free speech of the students is important, but freedom of speech is not absolute, (ex shouting fire in a crowded theater) and shouting down a speaker to prevent his talk from being heard violates the rights not only of the person speaking but that of those who want to hear the speech.

A note to my fellow college professors:

A university 'should be a place for civil discourse and debate.' Yet you defend those who wish to make such civil discourse impossible?

The pseudo 20, who are they and where is the so called letter?

This a false story trying to gain support of the rude disruptive phobic ignorant morons who should also be expelled from UC for such a disgraceful behavior to an invited guest

They should be expelled, serve jail time and then be deported back to whatever wherever they came from.

What's "civil" about shouting down the opposition so they cannot exercise their rights to express their views and have them heard? These students do not deserve special consideration. They acted like thugs.

Last time I checked, a “place for civil discourse and debate” would be one in which people--even the Israeli minister--is permitted to speak.

This comes down to a simple cliche, There is a right way to do things, and a wrong way to do things.

If they wanted to be heard, they could have organized a protest outside of the event. Disrupting the event was absolutely inappropriate. Free speech does not extend to interrupting someones speech in that manner.

They deserve to be charged and they should accept the responsibility that comes with their actions.

Jihadists are dangerous and should be prosecuted. Keep them from spreading Islamism inside the prisons, too.

The hateful comments on this article are disgusting. The students have already had their organization disbanded on campus. They've already received punishment from the university. It's terrible that you think, among all of this, they should also be tried in court. The court has no business in this affair. If a Congressman can yell at Obama during a speech, students can yell at a speaker.

The charges are ridiculous.

"The hateful comments on this article are disgusting. The students have already had their organization disbanded on campus. They've already received punishment from the university. It's terrible that you think, among all of this, they should also be tried in court. The court has no business in this affair. If a Congressman can yell at Obama during a speech, students can yell at a speaker."

Reposted for truth

The students at Irvine were not hostile or violent. They spoke up and used their rights to freedom of speech, and when authorities came, they were escorted out peacefully and without resistance. In no way is that harming anyone else's freedom of speech - they left when asked, and just wanted their voices to be heard. That is in no way "thuggish" behavior. They caused no harm or danger to anyone else, so the idea that this is likened to shouting fire in a crowded theater has no merit. And considering how many other countries around the world also acknowledge the fact that Israel is committing war crimes against the Palestinian people, which include stealing land, illegal arrests/beatings, etc. it is not a "radical" or Islamic notion. The fact that Michael Oren does not admit to these violations of humanitarian law is wrong and the students had every right to raise awareness.

UC Irvine is a casual school, I feel Israeli Studnt should respect the First Amendment "holmes" people are people, The Bible Saves Hebrew Amen. It is a privilege to have a book. Muslims have peaceful religion. Freedom of Religion in honest as Abe Lincoln. Why argue, lets play base ball teams legally honestly. No reason to argue America is peaceful. My Familia in 1920 worked legally in Orange County. Now days, all people live peacefully. Developed ares are honest and legal. The Brady Bunch teaches us to be peaceful. Sol Cal is an example of peaceful people. I enjoy surfer lifestyles. In America you live anywhere. no reason to protest. UC Irvine Ca is a good school, Amen. I miss Disneyland Ca.

What about the freedom of speech the speaker enjoys while he is on U.S. soil? Do protestors have the right to deny the Rights of others? These students had the Right to hold a counter speech protest outside of the meeting before, during and after the speaker completed his speach. Why didn't they ?The people of this country are given permits to demonstrate, why not obtain one as an orginization. Especially if this speech had been planned for months. Based on some pro demonstrator arguements presented on this page, people should be allowed to go into any church and disrupt the service simply because they do not agree with the philosophy being taught. How ridiculous can you be?

Throw the book at those jerks, They need a lesson in manners.

Why should the laws keeps beeing altered to suit the Muslims needs and wants and why do the Muslims thinks that somehow they're entitled and expect people to bend over to cater to their needs and wants ?? It's 2 way street, if they want to be respected maybe they should learn how to respect other people's beliefs and respect the laws of the country they're in. The voices of non Muslims in the Muslim countries all over the world are basically little to non-exsistent and their human rights keep being violated.

There's something seriously wrong with these UC Davis faculty members...

Freedom of speech comes with responsibility. Most of these Muslim students were raised in cultures where there is no freedom of speech. If you are caught criticizing the government in the open, you are thrown in jail. These students, as well as all of our young people, need to learn that your freedom requires you to be thoughtful of others, and shouting during someone else's speech is not only rude, but it's a violation of THEIR freedom of speech. The fact that people are defending these students is a perfect example of how we have raised a bunch of spoiled brats in this last generation who believe the are entitled to everything that they didn't have to fight for.

" WOW " couldn't have stated it any better!!!! While some idiots seem the think this is about the jews and muslims, It's all about free speech!!! The students had they're say, corrective action was taken to the extent of overkill, and now a DA had found away to get some high profile work. Stop the stupidity already!!!!!

Censorship is censorship. This is an attempt by the Zionist Organization of America to silence controversy over the effects of Zionism. More of these prosecutions are on the way. Bear in mind that if "interrupting a speaker" is a felony, the ZOA has given itself a very powerful tool for silencing debate in every forum. How many debates have you heard where no one ever interrupted a speaker? You get my drift?

From the Zionist perspective, particularly with the Middle East becoming increasingly inhospitable to the State of Israel, and Israel becomes increasingly dependent on American patronage, it becomes all the more important that the American people be prevented from hearing non-Zionist opinion. That's what this prosecution is about.

Where exactly does it state in the US Constitution that interrupting a speech is not permitted? I'm pretty sure it's no where stated.

And as far as some of you poor souls out there have stated, what are you going to gain from sending these students back to "whatever wherever" they came from? How can you just judge by their looks that they originated from somewhere else? It can surely be that they are AMERICAN-BORN, yet you're accusing them implicitly of not being so.
And must I say, you shall go back and search the history of the United States, because it clearly seems like you are not acknowledged about what drove to the foundation of this country. I may be wrong, but you're looking far behind what caused this country to be made-freedom of religion/to practice anything, any beliefs (for the most part.).

Here we go again. If I broke the law I don't think they would let me off because I'm Irish.

Chemerinsky suggests these student have already been punished by the University and therefore the charges should be dropped. I'd agree if I thought they learned something. Have they? Have any of them stated publically they realize what they did was wrong and that in this country your freedom of speech doesn't extent to shouting down someone else to the point they can't be heard? Have any of these students appologized for what they did? If not -- prosecute!

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