Free Speech on Campus: Michael Oren at UC Irvine

Michael Oren, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States recently gave a speech — or at least tried to give a speech — at UC Irvine at the invitation of UCI’s law school and political science department. A group of students at UC Irvine, apparently all members of the Muslim Students Union , decided to try to stop the speech.

The students came up with the following plan. They had been told that if they interrupted the speech, they would be arrested for disturbing a public event, so the students went sequentially, each interrupting the Ambassador once. Each student would stand up in the middle of the speech and start screaming out condemnation, which would trigger the wild applause of many other students in the audience. The student would then walk to the aisle to be arrested and escorted out by campus police. Once the Ambassador started again, the next student would go, resulting in a total of 10 interruptions to the speech and arrests of 11 students, 8 from UC Irvine and 3 from UC Riverside. The video is here:

As far as I know, we don’t yet know what the university will do in terms of disciplining the students or what the police will do in terms of formally bringing charges.

More coverage from the LA Times is here.

I’ll open comments for a brief window, in the hope that commenters can remain civil. But if things spiral out of control I’ll just close up comments rather than try to moderate them.