KCRW-NPR Radio Interview and debate with UC Law Dean Chemerinsky and MSU attorney Reem Salahi

Which Way, L.A.?

At UC Irvine, Campus Rules and the First Amendment

“UC Irvine wants to ban a Muslim student group for orchestrating a plan to shout down the Israeli ambassador during a speech on the campus. Would a ban violate the students’ rights to free speech and association? What if they lied to university officials about their role in advance planning….?”
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Dean Chemerinsky expert on anti-Semitism?

No anti-Semitism at UCI, says dean

By Ben Harris · JTA February 23, 2010

Excerpt:
“…Chemerinsky is without question far more of a legal scholar than I. But Chemerinsky is misleading about what Drake has done. He has denounced hate speech. He did it for me personally two years ago when I cornered him in a D.C. convention center. But so far as I’m aware, he has NOT done it “when anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli sentiments have been expressed.” He has done it when critics demanded it. And he has not “expressly proclaimed the inappropriateness of such speech.” He has expressed his opposition to hate-speech in general, without “expressly” referring to any speech in particular.

Whether this represents a failing on Drake’s part is, again, an open question. But Chemerinsky makes it sound as if he has spoken out directly and pointedly in opposition to specific instances of anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli sentiments. And this, so far as I’m aware, is untrue.

I have spoken with rabbis in the area and officials of organizations like the Jewish Federation. They are uniformly highly praising of Chancellor Drake and how he has handled the issue.

Drake certainly has his Jewish defenders. But uniformly? Not by a long shot.

Here’s the local ADL director, Kevin O’Grady, in a May 2009 letter to Drake following the appearance of Amir Abdul Malik Ali at Irvine.

We firmly believe that your unwillingness to specifically condemn the anti-Semitic comments that were spewed on your campus last year in conjunction with MSU’s activities sent a signal that they were acceptable and led to the escalation of hate this year.  In such circumstances, it is your responsibility as Chancellor to exercise your own First Amendment rights and use your bully pulpit to denounce Amir Abdul Malik Ali by name, to remove the offensive display from the entrance of your campus and to restore the integrity of U.C. Irvine as a place that promotes a civil, respectful and welcoming academic environment.  There is no legitimate excuse for inaction now – enough is enough!

There’s also the report of the OC Task Force, which was formed by Hillel in 2006 to investigate the situation at Irvine. The report found the incidents of anti-Semitism “real and well documented” and faulted Drake for failing to exercise his moral authority.

Maybe it’s expecting too much of Drake. Maybe, as Chemerinsky claims, a public university can do no more than what has already been done. But Chemerinsky portrays this as an open and shut case, and as a lawyer, he should know it’s anything but.” Continue reading

Chemerinsky:”I have not seen the slightest indication of anti-Semitism”

On February 12, 2008 The OCITF released its  Report and  Findings and Recommendations as a result of a year long investigation of complaints from Jewish and non-Jewish students about anti-Semitism at UC Irvine. In our view the situation has grown progressively worse.

On February 14, 2009 ADL Regional Director Kevin O’Grady Wrote a letter to Chancellor Michael Drake stating in Part:

“….We firmly believe that your unwillingness to specifically condemn the anti-Semitic comments that were spewed on your campus last year in conjunction with MSU’s activities sent a signal that they were acceptable and led to the escalation of hate this year. In such circumstances, it is your responsibility as Chancellor to exercise your own First Amendment rights and use your bully pulpit to denounce Amir Abdul Malik Ali by name, to remove the offensive display from the entrance of your campus and to restore the integrity of U.C. Irvine as a place that promotes a civil, respectful and welcoming academic environment. There is no legitimate excuse for inaction now – enough is enough!…” Read the letter here:

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Here is Dean Chemerinskys OP Ed in the LA Jewish Journal

The Reality of the University of California, Irvine

February 19, 2010

The claim that the University of California, Irvine is inhospitable to Jews is so far from reality that one must wonder whether those making the accusation have ever been on the campus or spoken to Jewish students and faculty there.  In my almost two years of working and living on campus, I have not seen the slightest indication of anti-Semitism.  I have taught hundreds of college and law students at UCI, many Jewish, and have not heard one complaint about an anti-Semitic incident on campus. Continue reading

And the solution? Host a series of discussions on civility and values

UCI ruckus leads to forums on civility

February 18th, 2010, 10:42 am

by Gary Robbins, science writer-editor

Less than two weeks after 11 students were arrested at UC Irvine for disturbing a speech by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, the university’s chancellor says the campus will soon host a series of discussions on civility and values. Continue reading

Chemerinsky: Students and others who disrupted an address by the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. can’t claim 1st Amendment rights

Opinion

UC Irvine’s free speech debate

By Erwin Chemerinsky

LA Times Opinion

February 18, 2010

College campuses, especially at public universities, are places where all ideas should be expressed and debated. No speech ever should be stopped or punished because of the viewpoint expressed. Of course, there must be rules to regulate the time, place and manner of such expression to preserve order and even to make sure that speech can occur. Continue reading

UCI Law School Dean: Hecklers “Were supressing free speech”

Dean: UCI protesters violated free speech

February 10th, 2010, 1:01 pm   ·

posted by Gary Robbins, science writer-editor

OC Register

chemerinsky4_vertUCI School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky. Photo courtesy of UCI.

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine School of Law and an internationally-renowned expert on the Constitution, says that the students who yelled at Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren during a campus lecture Monday were suppressing free speech. (Coverage of protest.)

Eleven students — eight from UCI, three from UC Riverside — were arrested by campus police and cited for disrupting a public event. The arrests occurred while Oren was trying to discuss U.S.-Israel relations before an audience of 500 people in the UCI Student Center.

“They shouted him down,” Chemerinsky said. “Imagine if they had brought their own speaker and that person had been shouted down. There would be no free speech. There is no right to a ‘heckler’s veto’ “. Continue reading

Susan Estrich: on Erwin Chemerinsky, Chancellor Drake and anti-Semitism

The Most Corrupt Man In California

Susan Estrich

“…Last February, Hillel of Orange County formed a task force to investigate what it viewed as a troubling number of anti-Semitic speeches and incidents on the UCI campus, including complaints by Jewish students that they were being followed and harassed by their Muslim classmates. That was before UCI’s Intifada week this past spring, which included speakers supporting the terrorist group Hamas and a speech entitled “Zio-Nazis.” That was before the infamous Ward Churchill, defender of the 9/11 attacks, was invited to speak on campus.

This past June, at a meeting attended by hundreds of concerned members of the Jewish community in Irvine, Dr. Drake told one parent, whose children don’t want to attend UC Irvine because of the virulent expressions of hatred, not to worry because these incidents “are not every other day. It’s a couple times a year.” Asked why he didn’t exercise his own right to free speech to “speak directly to statements made on campus” (as former Harvard President Lawrence Summers did when he opposed calls for divestment from Israel by terming such actions “anti-Semitic in their effect, if not their intent”), Dr. Drake ducked. “We have 1,000 guest speakers on campus every year. Could I evaluate them and say this one is anti-Semitic? I could not. What I could say is that as a person and a campus, we abhor hate speech, period.”

Read the commentary here: the-most-corrupt-man-in-california.html