UC Irvine officials have recommended the suspension of the university’s Muslim student group whose members disrupted a speech by the Israeli ambassador earlier this year, heightening a debate about free speech that has roiled the campus.
The decision appears to be the first in recent memory at UC recommending the ban of a student group for something other than hazing or alcohol abuse.
In making the suspension recommendation, Lisa Cornish, UC Irvine’s director of student housing, found that the Muslim Student Union had “planned, orchestrated and coordinated in advance” an effort to disrupt a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren on Feb. 8 about U.S.-Israeli relations. The recommendation was made in late May but not made public at that time.
Oren was shouted down repeatedly by Muslim students who stood up and delivered statements such as “Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech.” Supporters cheered as the students were escorted away by police, and each time Oren attempted to resume his speech, another student jumped up with another outburst.