"Free the Irvine 11," asserts the Los Angeles Times editorial of February 3, 2011.
Last year, eleven anti-Israeli UC Irvine students prevented the Israeli Ambassador to the United States from giving his speech to a UC Irvine audience. Thwarting of the Ambassador's free speech was planned by the students in advance, as evidenced by their emails.
UC Irvine "disciplined" these students by suspending their Muslim group from campus from August 31 to December 31, 2011.
Now the Orange County District Attorney's Office is reportedly considering bringing criminal charges against the students. A grand jury has been hearing testimony.
The Los Angeles Times of February 2, 2011 shows pictures of UC Irvine Muslim students with tapes over their mouths, suggesting their free speech rights were aborted. The UC Irvine Law School Dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, is quoted otherwise. Yet the Los Angeles Times editorial says Orange County officials should not further punish the students, that they have already been sufficiently punished. The UC Irvine Law School Dean says so, too.
Suspending a campus group is not a punishment for any of the individual students involved.
University students and administrators must be reminded that the U.S. Constitution continues to prevail when they set foot on a university campus. The First Amendment guarantees the Israeli Ambassador's free speech rights. The students deliberately and insolently thwarted these rights.
The students do not deserve a pass.
Update from Gloria Cavazos:
Today's LA Times reports:
The Orange County district attorney's office on Friday charged 11 defendants with conspiring to disrupt a meeting and a speech by the Israeli ambassador to the United States at UC Irvine last year.
According to the Times, eight of the defendants are students at UC Irvine; the other three were students at UC Riverside.