UC Irvine Students Heckle Israeli Ambassador Oren

by Roger Alford

UC Irvine should be ashamed of itself. This is about as rude and discourteous as one could possibly imagine. Chancellor Drake issued the following statement of apology:

This behavior is intolerable. Freedom of speech is among the most fundamental, and among the most cherished of the bedrock values our nation is built upon. A great university depends on the free exchange of ideas. This is non-negotiable. Those who attempt to suppress the rights of others violate core principles that are the foundation of any learning community. We cannot and do not allow such behavior. Eleven individuals were arrested as a result of their actions last night and are being processed accordingly. Additionally, the Office of Student Conduct has initiated the Student Judiciary Review process to address issues under their jurisdiction.

Beyond this predictable apology, what is the appropriate response for UC Irvine? Dismissal or expulsion of these students? Discipline of all those who encouraged such behavior? And will the moderate Muslim community in the United States stand up and condemn this sort of behavior?

http://opiniojuris.org/2010/02/11/uc-irvine-students-heckle-israeli-ambassador-oren/

8 Responses

  1. Here is UC Irvine’s Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky condemning the protester’s attempt to exercise a heckler’s veto.

    And here is the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s disappointing response to the events at Irvine.

  2. I can think of a lot more rude and discourteous actions than these. And why should they talk courteously? The world is a rough place. You dish it, you take it.

  3. I am surprised that this has not garnered more attention, especially with the related Oxford Union raucous. Or perhaps it is being circulated and I have just missed it?

  4. Sorry, the video was to boring to watch as a whole, but did anyone throw a shoe at him at any point? That seems to happen as of lately.

  5. These idiots need to be expelled. Publish their names please.

  6. Expelled for interrupting a speech? yeesh. I think anyone pushing for that definitely has some sort of bias or prejudice in him.

  7. The students acted in a completely uncivil manner and despite numerous warnings of the consequences, CONTINUED to disrupt. Knowing the consequences of their actions, they should be held accountable for what they did. This is absolutely not freedom of speech. This is simply ruthless. The university was going to provide proper discourse in the form of a Question & Answer session following the speech. The students COULD have come up with some difficult questions for the speaker but instead, chose to act the way they did. This is a complete misinterpretation of the 1st amendment and their utter incompetence is astounding. Their actions violated the 1st amendment rights of another and as such, this entire situation is incredibly hypocritical. Very poor display of knowledge on the part of the students arrested. Good job UCI. You don’t need these kinds of people on your campus. The students acted in a very disrespectful manner and did not represent the university in a positive light.  Any punishment is warranted.

  8. Unfortunately, such incivility at events with controversial speakers is a long-standing part of American history. I remember a near riot when Meir Kahan spoke on my New York City college campus years ago. And when the president of Iran spoke at Columbia in the recent past, he was greeted with  similar outbursts. Muslim, shmuslim–it doesn’t matter who the protesters are. They’re for or against abortion, global warming, whatever war is raging at the time (but especially the Viet Nam war), gay rights, a political party (remember the town hall disruptions?), and so on. It’s always been around, although it seems to be especially virulent these days because so much seems to be at stake. I totally disagree with such impositions on free speech, but in the present case, despite their outrageous verbal behavior, these students–none of them spontaneous, of course–knew exactly what they were doing, and deserve to be disciplined in some way, but not to the extent of arresting them or expelling them from school.

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