The presence of a Muslim Student Union on the UCI campus is particularly critical in the post-9/11 era. Following September 11
, Muslims in America have faced intensified hate crimes,violence, and discrimination, as well as racial, ethnic, and religious profiling by local and federallaw enforcement.
FBI harassment and surveillance of Muslims in Irvine, including UCI MSUstudents, is well-documented; for example, in 2009, FBI informant Craig Monteilh confessed tosurveilling many local mosques and community groups.
Many Muslims in the area havereported that they are afraid to attend mosques or community centers for fear of harassment,discrimination, or interrogation.
This hostile environment makes the presence of a safe space oncampus for Muslim students all the more necessary. Disbanding the MSU, even temporarily,greatly exacerbates these larger harms and further stigmatizes the Muslim community. Even if another Muslim group is allowed to form to alleviate these concerns, banning the MSUnonetheless marginalizes this vulnerable community and brands them as perpetual outsiders.
The Recommended Ban Is Unparalleled In Its Severity and Constitutes Selective Enforcement
The MSU has consistently denied coordinating the Oren protest. However, even if UCI could prove otherwise, the recommendation to suspend the MSU is unparalleled in its severity. UCIcannot claim this recommendation is an application of neutral policies, given the lack of precedent for the suspension of a University of California student group for something other thanhazing- or alcohol-related charges.
These ten students are hardly the first to protest speakers onUniversity campuses; there have been countless campus protests of speakers, many of whichwere even officially sanctioned by student groups, none of which resulted in the types of sanctions here proposed. For example, at UCI in 2006, student protesters from groups such asStudents for Peace and Justice interrupted a Chancellor’s Distinguished Fellows Series speaker,Jagdish Bhagwati, to the point that he was unable to finish his remarks. However, no reprimandswere issued against any student groups or individuals for the disruption.
Similarly, in 2001,College Republicans prevented Amir Abdel Malek Ali from speaking altogether at a UCI event.The protestors blocked the speaker from view, chanted so loudly that he could not continue hisspeech, and allegedly even took away the speaker’s microphone. None of these students werecited or reprimanded; to the contrary, UCI later hired one protester for an administrative position.
Further, no investigation was conducted to determine whether the College Republicansgroup coordinated the disruption.
http://www.asianlawcaucus.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/AACAJ_PFA-Brochure.pdf at pp. 20-25.http://www.aclu.org/files/pdfs/humanrights/cerd_finalreport.pdf.
Banning the MSU will similarly deprive the broader UCI campus community of the services and contributions of this group. UCI’s MSU has a long history of public service and was recently honored by the Cross Cultural Center with the Social Justice Award for its advocacy work for the disadvantaged. The group also contributes a unique perspective on numerous high profile current events in Middle East politics. Limiting other students’ exposure tothese viewpoints disadvantages UCI students and stifles a very live debate on politics of the region.
There are numerous other examples of student groups and individual students protesting invited speakers. Another recent example occurred in 2005 when protesting students disrupted a speech delivered by John C. Yoo at U.C.Irvine. Students in the room repeatedly interrupted and heckled him, and students outside pounded so hard on the