'Irvine 11' plead not guilty to disrupting Oren speech

Rick Moran
The question of whether they should be prosecuted is being debated by free speech advocates, with some on both right and left saying that the prosecutor didn't need to bring this case.

But there is a law against what the members of the Muslim Student Association did when they deliberately planned to disrupt a speech given by Israel's Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren on campus:

The students were charged in February with conspiring to disrupt a speech, capping the grand jury investigation. The 11 were arrested, cited and released in the Feb. 8, 2010, incident during the UCI talk by Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.
One of the defendants has since graduated, while the others are still in school, either at UCI or UC Riverside.

Each is charged with one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to disturb a meeting and one misdemeanor count of the disturbance of a meeting. If convicted, each faces a sentence that could include probation with community service or fines or up to six months in jail.

Everyone has a right to be heard. The Muslim students could have demonstrated outside the venue, or held their own event and invited a speaker who reflects their views.

But they didn't; they planned the outburst with the intent of stifling Ambassador Oren's right to free speech. That's a misdemeanor and they should be punished for it.



The question of whether they should be prosecuted is being debated by free speech advocates, with some on both right and left saying that the prosecutor didn't need to bring this case.

But there is a law against what the members of the Muslim Student Association did when they deliberately planned to disrupt a speech given by Israel's Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren on campus:

The students were charged in February with conspiring to disrupt a speech, capping the grand jury investigation. The 11 were arrested, cited and released in the Feb. 8, 2010, incident during the UCI talk by Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.

One of the defendants has since graduated, while the others are still in school, either at UCI or UC Riverside.

Each is charged with one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to disturb a meeting and one misdemeanor count of the disturbance of a meeting. If convicted, each faces a sentence that could include probation with community service or fines or up to six months in jail.

Everyone has a right to be heard. The Muslim students could have demonstrated outside the venue, or held their own event and invited a speaker who reflects their views.

But they didn't; they planned the outburst with the intent of stifling Ambassador Oren's right to free speech. That's a misdemeanor and they should be punished for it.