The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is the second youngest campus in the California state university system. UCI has made its mark among prestigious American universities, steadily rising in the U.S. News & World Report ratings of "America's Best Colleges." Following the al-Qaeda terror attacks on September 11, 2001, however, the prestigious and relatively subdued Orange County campus began drawing attention and earning a reputation as a breeding ground for anti-American, anti-Israel, and anti-Semitic sentiment.
At UCI, certain registered student groups, while claiming to exercise rights to free speech, have violated state and university policy. This is particularly true of the Muslim Student Union (MSU), which is part of the national network of the Muslim Students Association (MSA). The organization, more than any other campus group, is known for its seditious rhetoric and hostile, militant activities. Several students and faculty have reported feeling intimidated or even frightened in the presence of MSU members. Such victims have often chosen to remain silent rather than oppose campus organizations whose confrontational tactics and agendas were, over recent years, increasingly tolerated by the university administration and community. As a result of its members' belligerent and sometimes violent behavior, Irvine's MSU has rendered itself among the most severely hostile Muslim student organizations in North America.
That is why UCI's latest move, which was initially publicized by the Jewish Federation of Orange County, has attracted particular interest. UCI's administration made an unprecedented decision to suspend the MSU for a full year. The decision was made after a school investigation found that the organization planned disruptions during a February speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. The decision to suspend the group was not so much about the fact that the MSU disrupted a speech, but that the group later lied about its intentions and actions.