First Amendment Attorney: “Suspension for some substantial period does not seem unjust…”

A First Amendment Lawyer’s Take on Punishing the ‘Irvine 11

Voice of OC

Updated Tue Jun 22, 2010

The proposed one-year suspension of the Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine for its involvement in the masterminding and orchestration of the sequence of shouted interruptions to a speech by the Israeli ambassador in February raises two important First Amendment issues. Continue reading

ZOA: UC Irvine’s 8 month investigation of MSU Hamas/Galloway Fundraiser “whitewash”

ZOA Condemns UC Irvine For Continued Whitewashing of Muslim Student Union’s Wrongdoing, Despite Evidence of Fundraising For Terrorist Group Hamas

UC President Yudof Supports

Irvine’s Whitewash

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) condemns the University of California, Irvine for once again irresponsibly whitewashing the misconduct of the Muslim Student Union, a registered student group on campus – despite the University’s finding that the Muslim Student Union engaged in unauthorized fundraising on campus on May 21, 2009, and despite evidence that the funds may have been illegally provided to the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza.  The ZOA also criticizes UC Irvine for absolving university employees who attended the Muslim Student Union’s fundraising event, even though the employees knew or should have known that the fundraising was unauthorized and nevertheless did not stop or report it. Continue reading

UCI spokeswoman: “the chancellor’s original message was sufficient.”

Groups denounce anti-Jewish speech at UC-Irvine

May 26, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO (JTA) — Two Jewish groups are demanding that the chancellor at the University of California, Irvine denounce an anti-Israel, anti-Semitic speaker hosted by a campus Muslim group.

The Zionist Organization of America and the Orange County, Calif., chapter of the Anti-Defamation League have asked Michael Drake to condemn the May 13 speech by Amir Abdel Malik Ali and revoke the charter of the Muslim Student Union that hosted him. Continue reading

OC Register Editiorial “It is up to UCI Chancellor Michael Drake to set the rules and boundaries of behavior and enforce them…”

Editorial: Stifling discussion isn’t free speech

2010-02-25 17:35:05


The campus at UC Irvine has become a hotbed of tension between Muslim and Jewish students, divided along the always-contentious debate surrounding Israel and Palestine.

The latest major incident occurred Feb. 8, when a raucous group of 11 students, mostly from UCI and including the president of the UCI Muslim Student Association, repeatedly interrupted a speech being delivered by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren. Protesters in the audience stood up and shouted barely understandable tirades, condemning Israeli policies, in general, and the ambassador, in particular, while he was attempting to address 500 attendees at UCI’s Pacific Ballroom, according to news reports and videos (see videos at our blog, Continue reading

Dean Chemerinsky expert on anti-Semitism?

No anti-Semitism at UCI, says dean

By Ben Harris · JTA February 23, 2010

“…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

European Jewish Press: B’nai B’rith International provides Chancellor Drake with a copy of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency’s (FRA) working definition of anti-Semitism

Note: To View the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency’s (FRA) working definition of anti-Semitism Click Here


Jewish group denounces ‘anti-Semitic trends’ at University of California

European Jewish Press


B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick and Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin sent a letter to the University’s Chancellor, Michael Drake.

The letter was sent following recent anti-Israel demonstrations at a campus appearance by Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, where students repeatedly disrupted his remarks.

“Such heated protests contribute to a persistent atmosphere of hatred and intimidation for Jewish students at the school,” they said.

B’nai B’rith also provided the Chancellor a copy of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency’s (FRA) working definition of anti-Semitism that has been in worldwide use since 2005, in the hope it will be used to help students and faculty better understand and identify all forms of anti-Semitism. Continue reading

ZOA letter to UC Irvine: MSU/Galloway May ’09 campus event may have illegally raised funds for Hamas

On September 22, 2009, the Orange County Independent Task Force on anti-Semitism (OCITF) received a carbon copy of a letter from the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) to UC Irvine General Counsel Diane Giocaris. The letter describes “…very disturbing information concerning the Muslim Student Union (MSU) and a program it conducted during its anti-Israel and anti-Semitic event at UCI last May.”

On May 21, 2009, as part of “Israel: the Politics of Genocide,” the MSU featured George Galloway, a member of the British Parliament, whose topic was “Viva Palestina, Galloway’s convoy to Gaza…”.  ZOA’s letter alleges that: “Prior to the program, MSU specifically affirmed in writing that this was not going to be a fundraiser. Yet, according to the ZOA, at the program,  both MSU and Mr Galloway  solicited funds for Viva Palestina from the over 850 people in attendance and we are concerned that the funds may have been delivered to Hamas in Gaza in July 2009.”  Hamas has been designated by the US State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and providing material support and resources to an FTO is a violation of federal law.   The letter states that several University policies were violated during this event and that at least four campus administrators were present, but did nothing to stop the unauthorized and “potentially illegal” fund raising activities.

Earlier this year, Galloway was refused entry into Canada for allegedly providing material support to Hamas.

The OCITF urges community members to contact UCI Chancellor Michael Drake and urge him to immediately investigate these very serious allegations.

Chancellor Michael Drake
University of California, Irvine
Office of the Chancellor
Irvine, CA 92697-5125

to read the entire ZOA letter click here:

Hate Speech: “Difficult to define precisely”?

In contrast to the comments in the previous post:

” …Hate speech is difficult to define precisely.” It is largely defined by the person individual hearing it: what some or many might find hateful or offensive, others may not….” UCI Chancellor Michael Drake ” Message on hate speech” May 26.2006.

“..One persons hate speech is another persons education” — UCI Vice Chancellor Manuel Gomez October 18, 2006.

“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.” — UCI Chancellor Michael Drake May 30, 2007.

“…I do agree there were certainly instances of boorish and intimidating behavior.  Some of this behavior involved people not associated with the University.  Neither the University nor the Police Department has the means or ability to control such rude or obnoxious behavior…” UC Irvine Police Chief Paul Henisey—January 20, 2009

“…UC Irvine did experience instances of racist, hateful and anti-Semitic speech on our campus last month.   The Chancellor has stated on many occasions that he personally finds this type of speech abhorrent, offensive and counterproductive…” Ramona H. Agrela, UCI Associate Chancellor–June 12, 2009