OC Jewish Experience

The official blog of Jewish Orange County

Five UC Irvine Student-Group Presidents Send Clear Message

Presidents from five UC Irvine campus groups took a stand on Monday by issuing a joint statement.  The following groups are represented:

Anteaters for Israel, Hillel at UCI, Alpha Epsilon Pi, Alpha Epsilon Phi and Chabad at UCI.  Here is the letter in full.


As students at UCI, we respectfully disagree with the ZOA’s position that students should stop attending UCI, and that donors should stop supporting the many programs at the school.
This is both counterproductive and one of the worst ways to deal with the Muslim Student Union (MSU) at UCI.

Instead, we believe the best response to their hateful speakers and programs is to be proactive by engaging in positive dialogue and peace-seeking efforts. An important part of this is to bring more students to the campus who are interested in making progress towards peace between groups on campus as well as in the Middle East.

The 11 students and their supporters claim that they were only exercising their own free speech, but as U.S. Constitutional scholars Alan Dershowitz and Erwin Chemerinsky explain, the organized disruptions by these students are not protected by freedom of speech.

We applaud the UCI Police Department for arresting the students who broke the law.  We also applaud the university administration for swiftly beginning the student conduct judicial review process which can result in suspension or expulsion.  We know that this process may be lengthy, and we patiently await the outcome.

The ZOA also criticized Chancellor Drake for not exercising his own freedom of speech and publicly condemning the MSU’s regular programs and their members’ actions during Ambassador Oren’s speech. While the authors of ZOA’s statement were not present at the program, we were, and Chancellor Drake did in fact publicly speak out against the disruptions, and subsequently released a statement on the school’s website.

We can all agree that MSU’s consistent anti-Israel and anti-Semitic programs are reprehensible, offensive and embarrassing for the university.  However, this is not reason enough to advise prospective students to stay away from attending UCI, and recommend to the school’s donors to stop their financial support. Without such support, it would not have been possible to make our community on campus as thriving as it is today. Through programs and events we have grown stronger and more successful than ever before.

As students on this campus, we feel that one of the very best ways to send a message to the MSU is to increase the attendance of students who will speak out against them and stand up for American principles such as freedom of speech.  One of the greatest advantages of living in this country is access to a quality university education, and we are proud that UCI is one of the finest and safest academic institutions in the nation.  Why would anyone want to deny a student this benefit?

One of the reasons that UCI has become such a high-ranked university is because of the array of academic programs, extra-curricular opportunities, and innovative faculty.  One recent example is UCI’s new School of Law.  All this would not be possible without the financial support of many generous donors in the community.

Unfortunately the MSU continues to bring negative programming to campus, which continues to give UCI an undeserving terrible reputation.  As proud UCI Anteaters, the rest of us will continue to build a thriving and robust campus life for our fellow and future students.

Moran Cohen, President

Anteaters for Israel

Ami Kurzweil, President

Hillel at UCI

David Drabinsky, President

Alpha Epsilon Pi

Courtney Kravitz, President

Alpha Epsilon Phi

Michael Hirschberg, President

Chabad at UCI


February 22, 2010 - Posted by | UC Irvine | , , , , , , ,


  1. I am a 35 year Life Member of Hadassah and strongly believe in the establishment and survival of Israel. I do whole heartedly agree with your letter and believe that the ZOA has not given this incident the proper consideration that it should have. I have emailed Chancellor Drake and Agrela that I believe it is now time for UCI to look at their efforts to defend their principles of “freedom of speech” as maybe they have allowed too much lenency to take place and in actuality have created this freedom of bullying to transpire in stead.

    Comment by Rose Lesser | February 26, 2010 | Reply

    • I agree that ZOA shouldn’t ask Jewish students not to attend UCI and that Jews shouldn’t donate to the school. But they should deal harshly with people who interupt the free speach of invited speakers.

      Comment by jacqueline horwitz | February 28, 2010 | Reply

  2. Rose and Jacquueline: Well said both of you as were the legal opinions. My concern lies with “exactly was so offensive as I didn’t hear it or see it to read. Hence, it seems to me, to invite a reply to comments from Rosse and Jacquie, I do suuport their feelings BUT if one wishes to deal with what seems (IOFFENSIVE) one shoild check wt the Unverisy considers such. I feel UCI’s interpreratation seems a too vagUE to be of any to those whose to appeal to an audience to support theier view. Since I .ive in OC, the only time I readi ‘m a NYT adiict) . I am very onmcerned with educatiion in CA. .It’s something that I’d find disturbinbg; because wehatis LEARNED, ie., what is being taught MAY LEAD to EDUCATION is when the learening leads to observable and productive behavior, which is at least one of the desired OBJECTIVES of college degree.. Going to college desn’t garuntee that..

    Comment by Herbert S. Parker, EdD Columbia (Ret) | March 6, 2010 | Reply

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