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100 UC Irvine faculty members ask district attorney to drop charges against Muslim students

A group of 100 faculty members at UC Irvine signed a letter 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 group, including five deans, said the Muslim Student Union was wrong to disrupt the speech last year by Ambassador Michael Oren but that the students and the group had already been disciplined by the university.

Orange County prosecutors announced last week they were charging the students with two misdemeanor counts, including conspiracy to disrupt the speech. If convicted, each faces up to six months in jail.

The decision to charge the students, the faculty letter says, “sets a dangerous precedent for the use of the criminal law against nonviolent protests on campus.”

It goes on to argue the charges are harmful and divisive to the school and risk “undoing the healing process” after widespread debate erupted following the protest and the decision to temporarily suspend the group.

“I think there was a great deal of dismay that the DA was reviving what we thought had been a closed chapter in the university’s history,” said UC Irvine history professor Jon Wiener.

The district attorney has argued that the students organized to squelch the speaker in clear violation of the law. The students are set to be arraigned March 11 in Santa Ana.

RELATED:

Simon Wiesenthal Center supports charges against 'Irvine 11'

Jewish group says its members should face criminal charges for protests

-- Paloma Esquivel

 
Comments () | Archives (51)

It was always my understanding that America was founded by the people for the people and one of its principle tenets was freedom of speech. Once that is gone is then there is nothing left other than the ability to bare arms.

Wow. America charging people with a crime for speaking out against our support of Israel. Jeez. How low can we go?

We only have Freedom of Speech as long as you do not say anything against Israel Michael.

We are the United States of Israel after all......oops....I mean America.....

"and risk “undoing the healing process”"

It seems to me that preaching that actions have few consequences outside of the university bubble/time warp would seem to offer a greater long-term threat to the healing process. Let the perpetrators face the consequences of their actions. It's not as if legal charges are dropped against those who are fired from their jobs for legal infractions.

Shouting down speakers isn't protest--it's buffoonery, juvenile, classless and third-rate. It's about time college students faced legal consequences for illegal actions. There's nothing special or unique about college students that sets them above the law.

Dear Professors, A college campus is not a sanctuary for criminal acts. If the students committed the acts they are charged with, they should be punished as anyone else.

The petition says:

"At the very least, we urge the District Attorney and the students to agree to resolve the charges with the students performing community service and a short probation, after which the matter will be expunged from the students’ records."

I am fine with this as long as the students now acknowledge that what they did was not protected free speech and they understand that they violated the rights of others. I don’t need a public statement. A judge or the D.A. can determine this from talking to each of the students.

I get so tired of hearing the supporters of these students saying that these students were just exercising their rights of free speech and are now being punished simply because they are Muslim. It is disgusts me that they consider themselves to be like Martin Luther King Jr or Rosa Parks.

If the students don’t understand they did something wrong, what will prevent them from doing it again?

Their behavior is not acceptable. If they learned something through this incident, I am fine with this resolution. If the students didn’t learn and feel they didn’t do anything wrong, I support the D.A. in prosecuting the case.

Jean and Omir, the students could have legally spoken out against Israel outside the lecture hall. They could have passed out flyers outside the lecture hall sharing their viewpoint.

Despite his open support for terrorist organizations these students could invited Amir Malik Ali back on the campus. The MSU usually invite him to speak on the campus at least once a year. They could invite someone else to speak to share their viewpoint.

They chose to violate the rights of those who came to a university to hear someone give a lecture.

This has nothing to do with the content of their speech or really their yelling. No one really understood what they said anyway. Their actions were not a form of protected free speech.

Only a complete blockhead or someone who clearly has not read much about this incident would say they are being punished simply for speaking out against Israel.

Since cost cutting is important at the UC too, why don't we just terminate every one of those 100 faculty members. Obviously they lack the intelligence and socialization necessary to adequately perform at the University.

Anyone else see the irony in wanting to enforce criminal law on these students, whereas Israel is able to break international law (the very thing these students are protesting) and not have to worry about the consequences?

6 months of jail for what again?

Where do you bleeding hearts get your information... isn't UCI teaching you anything or are they purposefully leaving out legal definitions on purpose. By the looks of it 100 educators (I use the term loosely) think that breaking the rules and the law is fine, as long as it doesn't interfere with their own beliefs or their socialist agenda.

If I decided to attend ANY lectures given by these 100 Professors, would I be arrested? Would they press charges? If they Gay/Lesbian Club showed up for a forum and I stood up in protest, would I be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law... you bet your ars I would.

Fair is fair...

the most critical and revolutionary changes have come from opposing views. those views, who here are too myopic to fathom, is one of the source of and a key ingredient of freedom as we know it today. would the outcome be the same if the roles were reversed? or is it "reversed" because of the different "roles?"

students have been clamoring as such for hundreds of years...any educated soul on this planet can identify with this. you think it's just the students in the u.s. that have these outspoken opposing views? actually YES! that is precisely what makes this country great: just ask the hippies.

OC Longhair - You're completely wrong! I work at UCI and I got all the details on this protest both through my own observation and the collective response from people that were there. The university made an incredibly big deal about this and no one could figure out why. The protest was completely non-violent and the students didn't resist when they were told to leave and removed from the premises. The university punished the students A YEAR AGO and thought the issue was laid to rest. Whoever brought this matter to the D.A.'s office after ALL this time is taking this way too far! That's why the faculty and Deans came forward to protest this unconstitutional move!! This sets a dangerous precedent for the freedom of speech in our country because no laws were broken and no harm was ever intended or planned.

Stephen D. Johnson - Apparently you can't read. That's the very point that the UCI faculty and Deans were trying to make. The students had already been adequately punished by the university A YEAR AGO for their actions. They were punished for breaking the rules of the university NOT the law. There were no laws broken in what they did. They didn't resist when they were told to leave and escorted out of the building and they never intended or threatened any harm! It was completely non-violent. They were guilty of being rude...that's it.

A group of 100 faculty members,including five deans, at UC Irvine signed a letter 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. This has the effect of condoning the thugery like behavior by the students involved. It is never acceptable to use such tactics to restrict free speech. Especially on the college campus. The 100 facility members should just resign. This is why some of feel public education should be closed for a year and just start over with teachers that want to teach and students that want to learn. And, hopefully without the extreme ant-liberal groups on campus.

OC Longhair - You're completely wrong! I work at UCI and I got all the details on this protest both through my own observation and the collective response from people that were there. The university made an incredibly big deal about this and no one could figure out why. The protest was completely non-violent and the students didn't resist when they were told to leave and removed from the premises. The university punished the students A YEAR AGO and thought the issue was laid to rest. Whoever brought this matter to the D.A.'s office after ALL this time is taking this way too far! That's why the faculty and Deans came forward to protest this unconstitutional move!! This sets a dangerous precedent for the freedom of speech in our country because no laws were broken and no harm was ever intended or planned.

“but that the students and the group had already been disciplined by the university”

Good. They found out about the University discipline. Now they get to find out about society’s discipline.

The protesters either broke the law or they didn’t. If they did, then the local law enforcement is obligated to prosecute them.

CAIR Suggests Violence If Students Prosecuted?
“… prosecuting these students may in fact lead to more disruptive and perhaps violent forms of political protests…”

Cool.

Now AIPAC can silence free speech in the US.

Is this a great country or what.

Meanwhile, Israel bombs and kills thousands of innocents in Gaza and steals land in the West Bank with the blessings of the Christo-facists.

Do you think if this was the other way around, any prosecutions would have taken place? Not even in a billion years! Let's face it this is a double standard by all means...

HMM,

The university made a big deal about this because many people treasure the First Amendment and freedom of speech.

As Erwin Chemerinsky has stated:
“College campuses, especially at public universities, are places where all ideas should be expressed and debated. No speech ever should be stopped or punished because of the viewpoint expressed. Of course, there must be rules to regulate the time, place and manner of such expression to preserve order and even to make sure that speech can occur.”

How did the university discipline the students? What was punishment was levied?

It has yet to be determined if criminal laws were broken. The DA believes laws were broken and there will be a trial to determine that fact.

http://tinyurl.com/Standwith11Not1stAmendment

Its free speech as long as you dont heckle me like a thug and stifle MY right to free speech.

Charge the islamist hate mongers... fine them and throw the book at them. They want to act illegally and think they can get away with it... screw them. Muslim hate mongers. Either that or make them eat some pork sausage or bacon.

We only have Freedom of Speech as long as you do not say anything against Israel Michael.

We are the United States of Israel after all......oops....I mean America.....

Posted by: Amir
-------------------------------------------------------------

Really Amir? Ask Pastor Jones, Molly Norris, Theo Van Gogh, and Weesterdard, the Danish cartoonist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, etc. Nowhere on this planet do Muslims have to go into hiding for insulting Jews. I'd rather be living in a the United States of Isreal then the United States of Islamica

Anyone else see the irony in wanting to enforce criminal law on these students, whereas Israel is able to break international law
-------------------------------------------

Then ban all speakers from countries that break internation law, and those which committ genocide against gays (which obcenely enough is not against international law). You really feel okay allowing speakers from Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Pakistan, and the Sudan, but banning Isreal? That is fair to you?

Prosecute and fine them to the full extent of the law. They were brutish thugs that evening in which they shut down the free speech rights of others. They were there to disrupt the procedings not to debate the issues.

 
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