UCI sanctions Muslim students for laying siege to Jewish event
After months of deliberation, the University of California, Irvine has concluded its investigation into its Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter, deeming the group worthy of sanctions for intimidating Israeli students.
Campus Reform initially reported in May that a film-screening hosted by a Jewish student group on campus was disrupted by a protest “organized and led” by SJP, the school has finally conceded.
“After a thorough review...the investigators found that SJP...violated Student Conduct Policies."
As a result, though, SJP will merely be issued a “written warning, effective immediately.” The school insists, however, that the warning will last a really long time—all the way until March of next year, to be exact.
The only apparent consequence of the warning is that SJP will be forced to host “an educational program by November 18 2016,” according to an email obtained by Campus Reform.
“After a thorough review, the student conduct investigation is now complete,” Vice Chancellor Thomas Parham wrote in a campus-wide email. “The investigators found that Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the group that organized and led the protest, violated Student Conduct Policies regarding disruption: ‘Obstruction or disruption of teaching, research, administration, disciplinary procedures, or other University activities.’”
The move comes on the heels of increased pressure mounted on UCI’s administration by local Jewish advocacy groups, many of which protested the lack of action taken by the school.
At least 36 activist groups, in fact, condemned the administration for its response, saying in a letter that UCI “consistently turns a blind eye to acts of anti-Semitism.”
In response to that letter, UCI’s chancellor, Howard Gillman denied any widespread or historical problem of anti-Semitism, even noting that his school is “consistently praised for [its] efforts at creating an outstanding environment for [its] Jewish students.”
Just this year, though, at least nine incidents of anti-Semitic activity have occurred on UCI’s campus, the disruption caused by SJP being the most recent, where one student was left no choice but to hide from an approaching mob of protesters.
Notably, the school’s College Republican chapter was recently suspended because of an administrative technicality. Due to national outrage, though, that decision was later overturned.
In his Thursday letter, Parham noted SJP’s constitutional right to protest, but cited its hostility and intimidation as grounds for the suspension.
“UCI values its diverse mix of cultures and opinions,” he wrote. “We support and defend groups exercising free speech and assembly, yet we must protect everyone’s right to express themselves without disruption. This is a bedrock principle of our university. Let’s continue to work together to foster a safe environment that allows the open, civil, and robust exchange of ideas to flourish.”
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