When a Muslim organization on a campus known for free speech tries to shut up those with a different viewpoint, what's the right penalty? At the University of California, Irvine (UCI), home to approximately 23,000 students and one of the most virulent Muslim student groups in the nation, administrators are choosing a slap on the wrist.
UCI's 2010 travail began in February when the Muslim Student Union (MSU) orchestrated a protest of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's speech at UCI. Emails obtained by administrators revealed the MSU plan for students one by one to heckle the ambassador. Campus officials issued a warning the group chose to ignore.
The interruptions continued—consuming more than 30 minutes of the ambassador's speech—until police escorted from the building and arrested 11 protesters, eight of them UCI students. Then the remaining protesters exited, chanting slogans in unison as they left. UCI suspended MSU, which is funded by compulsory student fees, for 12 months, but in September cut the suspension by two-thirds: The suspension will now end on Dec. 31, with MSU remaining on "probation."