OC Leaders Comment on UC Irvine, 11 Arrested Muslim Students and Free Speech
Two of Orange County’s, California leaders, representing Jewish Federation Orange County and The Hillel Foundation of Orange County are quoted below. Here is the release:
In the last week, UC Irvine has been at the center of world-wide media attention after Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s campus visit and speech was continually interrupted by members of the Muslim Student Union.
“We have faith that the University is going to follow through and do the right thing: To prosecute the 11 Muslim students who were arrested, and to take the necessary disciplinary action,” said Shalom Elcott, the President and CEO of Jewish Federation Orange County. “So far, they are doing the right thing.”
Many individuals and groups have weighed in since the event. Some have called for potential students to avoid applying to UCI and others have called for donations to UCI to cease.
“To discourage students from attending this university is counter to their own interests and their efforts to create a thriving Jewish community on campus,” commented Jordan Fruchtman, Executive Director of The Hillel Foundation of Orange County. “I understand leaders from some organizations want to put intense pressure on the university, but their calls to dissuade enrollment are antithetical to student interests and will only negatively affect their efforts.”
Freedom of speech and the right to use it at any cost, including stopping a lecture by screaming, is the focus of the current problem on the campus.
“Advocacy groups like CAIR and MPAC are trying to make the argument that the Muslim students arrested were only exercising their freedom of speech,” said Elcott. “While these groups would have you believe these are arguments of free speech, this theory is flawed and was confirmed by two leading U.S. constitutional law experts: Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz and founding Dean of the UCI Law School, Erwin Chemerinsky.“
Elcott and Fruchtman feel strongly that community members, as well as free speech supporters at large, need to make a statement and send the right message. The Orange County Jewish leaders encourage people to email UCI Chancellor Michael Drake, UCI Dean of Students and the Regents of the University of California to express their support for free speech on campus.
“I encourage you to join the grass roots effort, started by our proud student leaders, to ensure free speech on American campuses,” added Fruchtman. “ I am also encouraging the online community to visit www.wewontbesilenced.com and choose one of the options suggested on the home page of the site.”
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