Disciplinary letters from the UC Irvine Office of Judicial Affairs.

2010-02-19 18:21:49

The UC Irvine students who were arrested after protesting a Feb.8 speech by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren have received disciplinary letters from the university office of judicial affairs.

UCI sent the letter to the eight Irvine student protesters early last week.

The UC Riverside’s student conduct office is reviewing video footage and materials from the speech and demonstration but has yet to make a decision regarding the three UCR students who were arrested. Administrators have sent inquiry letters to the students in question.

According to Cathy Lawhon, UCI spokeswoman, the protesters had to respond to their disciplinary letters and make appointments with campus judicial affairs by Tuesday or holds would be placed on their registration and financial aid. The letters, outlining the initial complaint, are the first step in a six-week long disciplinary process; Lawhon did not know if the students answered the notices by the Feb. 16 due date.

Mohamed Abdelgany, president of UCI’s Muslim Student Union and one of the eight Irvine student protesters, said that he responded to the letter and suspects that the university is threatening to pursue “very harsh punishments against (him) and his fellow students.”

Abdelgany, who believes that the sanctions could be as serious as suspension or expulsion, has offered a suggestion to the administration.

“The best action for the university to take is to hear our grievances, and work to make all students and student groups feel included. That would be true leadership,” said Abdelgany in an e-mail to the Register.

Officials from both schools would not comment or speculate on the investigation or potential consequences, citing the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act.

Although sharing information with UCI officials, UC Riverside is investigating and disciplining its students independently and is still determining if and how its three students violated any codes of conduct.

According to Susan Allen Ortega, UC Riverside Dean of Students, all University of California campuses are governed by a single set of statewide rules and UC students are held accountable to these policies at every site. Judicial action, however, is handled by administrators at the offender’s home campus, meaning that the punishment for the three Riverside protesters could be different from the eight Irvine students.

Traher Herzallah, one of the three UC Riverside protesters, said that his protest followed in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela and Rosa Parks and added that “one would think that (UC Riverside) would… even support the students for exercising� their First Amendment rights rather than reprimand them.”

Given the sensitivity and passions on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Feb. 8 protest and fallout has received national attention.

The Jewish Federation of Orange County has requested that UC Irvine and Riverside prosecute the offending students to the fullest extent of the law.

“In both cases, we fully expect that the university administration will take necessary actions to pursue these students for any violation of school code,” said Shalom Elcott, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Orange County.

On the other hand, the UC San Diego Associated Student Council passed a resolution on Feb. 17 supporting the eleven protestors and asserting that they were within their rights to demonstrate at Oren’s presentation. The Los Angeles area office of the Council on American Islamic Relations has asked the University of California to drop any charges against the students.

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: