The following is an excerpt from my article, published June 24, 2010, on Pajamas Media. The article focuses on the systemic issues plaguing the UC Irvine campus and puts the suspension recommendation of the Muslim Student Union at UCI in a larger context:
Some are cautioning against believing the decision will solve issues on the UC Irvine campus.Read it all here.
The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is the second youngest campus in the California state university system. UCI has made its mark among prestigious American universities, steadily rising in the U.S. News & World Report ratings of “America’s Best Colleges.” Following the al-Qaeda terror attacks on September 11, 2001, however, the prestigious and relatively subdued Orange County campus began drawing attention and earning a reputation as a breeding ground for anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic sentiment.
At UCI, certain registered student groups, while claiming to exercise rights to free speech, have violated state and university policy. This is particularly true of the Muslim Student Union (MSU), which is part of the national network of the Muslim Students Association (MSA). The organization, more than any other campus group, is known for its seditious rhetoric and hostile, militant activities. Several students and faculty have reported feeling intimidated or even frightened in the presence of MSU members. Such victims have often chosen to remain silent rather than oppose campus organizations whose confrontational tactics and agendas were, over recent years, increasingly tolerated by the university administration and community. As a result of its members’ belligerent and sometimes violent behavior, Irvine’s MSU has rendered itself among the most severely hostile Muslim student organizations in North America.
That is why UCI’s latest move, which was initially publicized by the Jewish Federation of Orange County, has attracted particular interest. UCI’s administration made an unprecedented decision to suspend the MSU for a full year. The decision was made after a school investigation found that the organization planned disruptions during a February speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. The decision to suspend the group was not so much about the fact that the MSU disrupted a speech, but that the group later lied about its intentions and actions.
The suspension, if appeals by the Muslim Student Union are unsuccessful, will take effect during the 2010-2011 school term. The chapter will also be required to complete 50 hours of community service before it is able to file appropriate paperwork to have the organization reinstated. If the group is successful in that procedure, it will, however, face a year of disciplinary probation following reinstatement.
In a letter dated May 27, 2010, Senior Executive Director of Student Housing Lisa Cornish detailed the findings of the school investigation. The 14 pages detail that the MSU violated four separate school policies involving dishonesty, obstructing disciplinary procedures, disorderly conduct, and “participation in a disturbance of the peace of unlawful assembly.” These violations transpired during a talk given by Michael Oren on February 8. His remarks were interrupted at least 10 different times by students, including those who repeated the tiresome canard of an Israeli genocide and who shouted accusations that Oren was a murderer and a war criminal. Oren briefly suspended his talk, resuming it only after school officials tried to restore order and repeatedly advised the audience that the outbursts violated student conduct codes....