Dear Community Members,
I write this letter to you as a recent graduate, and concerned advocate of the direction of my alma mater. I came to UC Irvine in September 2006, believing I had just entered an institution of higher learning, but I came out understanding that the university faculty has absolutely no interest in fostering and protecting the free exchange of ideas.
I became deeply involved in the documentation of the pervasively intimidating and anti-Semitic environment at the UC Irvine. I reported on speakers and students who called for America and Israel to be wiped off the map, all while making racist depictions of Jews and praising terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.
By effectively standing up for my rights as a student journalist at an anti-Semitic speech sponsored by the Muslim Student Union’s Amir Abdel Malik Ali in May 2007, I was able to help reverse the campus’s restrictive videotaping policy, and through my continued documentation of these hostile events, I tried my best to make others aware of the problem of academic intimidation and the permissive acceptability of anti-Semitism on college campuses. Though, I have no regrets, these efforts were tedious, arduous, and took much of my time.
That May 2007 event is a prime and unveiled example of the Muslim Student Union’s proclivity towards thuggish tactics and the administration’s subsequent capitulation on the taxpayer’s dime. Along with my brother, I brought a camera into Crystal Cove Auditorium and began videotaping a speech by Amir Abdel Malik Ali where he was explaining that the War on Terrorism is merely a conspiracy perpetrated by Jewish spies who wish to do harm against Muslims worldwide. As I captured footage, one of the MSU’s members crept over my shoulder and demanded that I stop recording, or he will be forced to summon the police. Aware of our First Amendment rights, we refused the order. Then the Acting Dean of Judicial Affairs summoned me to the aisle, and along with two police officers we were escorted out of the auditorium and we’re told that we could go back in if we stopped recording the event, as student groups were reserved the right to police their own events. The intimidation didn’t stop in the lobby of the auditorium. Angry that I didn’t empty the footage from my camcorder, I was followed to my next class, where members of the Muslim Student Union spotted my brother and I, and started taking photos of us.
In light of these events, and thanks to Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, this unwritten “courtesy” (as the Dean of Students Services described the policy) has since been overturned, and the campus police have stopped enforcing anti-free speech efforts. This doesn’t mean that the police have stepped up and defended free speech and have certainly not stopped the problem of MSU members policing their own events. In May 2008, during the MSU’s annual “Israel Apartheid Week,” I (along with my brother) was told by the Dean of Student Services during an outdoors speech by Amir Abdel Malik Ali, that when recording the Muslim student activists, I would have to refrain from filming the females or “sisters” as she called them, on behalf of the brothers MSU. Aware that it was impossible for the police to enforce this very unconstitutional order, we kept filming. Ultimately, because of the lack of security on campus, two MSU members (one of which was allegedly involved in throwing a cinderblock at a government vehicle the previous year) decided to enforce their own form of vigilante justice, charging at my brother while using language that suggested that he wanted to cause physical harm (“you want to get jacked up?”).
The UCI Campus police response to the incidence was unproffessinonal and appalling. Not only did they stand idle while my brother was attacked, but they refused to take statements from witnesses, instead discontinuing their investigation. Case closed.
That very same day, a black Christian minister, who can often be seen evangelizing a long ring road on the main part of campus, was pushed and shoved by MSU members. But Amir Abdel Malik Ali walked up from the flagpoles after his speech unharmed, and what was an apparent violation of campus code held a rally blocking ring road. He continued to rail against American and Israel, and his adorning crowd of students all screamed the battle cry: “Takbir Allah Akbar!” A victory for free speech?
Thank you for your time.
Jonathan Constantine Movroydis
Filed under: News |