This Wednesday, an article titled “Protesters Face Charges” was published under the University News section of the Daily Nexus. I automatically wanted to read the article because I was surprised that we, as University of California students, would stand for what happened in this story.
The article was about the “Irvine 11,” a group of students from the Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine. The students were suspended from UCI and are facing criminal charges for continuously interrupting Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren at an open forum there. What the article failed to mention was that the jeers reached the point where the ambassador left the forum while the unruly students were arrested. Law enforcement was called to cut the event short and bring the crowds into order.
[media-credit name=”Alicia Crismali” align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]The students were yelling things like “Baby killer!” and “The blood of children is on the hands of America.” I was both surprised and offended at the way that article framed this event and made it seem as if the students were being treated unfairly by the university. Furthermore, the report tried to turn it into an issue of racism. The truth of the matter is that those 11 plus students (only 11 of them are being charged) were the ones perpetrating racism and propagating slander. If people would take the time to learn about what happened that night, they would find out that this was not the first time the MSU had done something like this. These students have had numerous complaints against their student group ranging from racism to making students feel unsafe on campus.
I personally chose not to go to UC Irvine strictly because of the rampant anti-Semitism that I knew occurred on that campus. Calling the suspension of the Irvine 11 an act of racism by the university and the district attorney against Muslim students is ridiculous in the least. If I run a traffic light, I expect to get a ticket. If they were conspiring, through emails and student group meetings, to disrupt the Ambassador, a diplomatic guest in our country, then they should be charged as such. Just because people have gotten away with such behavior in the past does not excuse these students today.
And for those of you who will say this is an issue of freedom of speech: Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that you get to silence someone else to get your point across. These students could have waited until the end of Ambassador Oren’s address and asked him thought-provoking questions during the question-and-answer session, but they chose instead to remain uneducated.