100 UCI faculty demand that OC DA drop charges against UCI-11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Feb. 9, 2011
Contact: Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, School of Law: 949-824-7722
Jon Wiener, Professor of History: 310-558-0132; wiener@uci.edu

100 UC Irvine Faculty Call on D.A. to Drop Charges against Students who Disrupted Israeli Ambassador’s Speech

100 faculty members at UCI, including five deans and 14 Chancellor’s Professors and Distinguished Professors, have signed a letter to the Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas calling on him to drop criminal charges against 11 students who disrupted a speech on the UCI campus by the Israeli Ambassador to the US last year.

The group includes Dean of the Law School Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of Social Ecology Valerie Jenness, Dean of Humanities Vicki Ruiz, and Dean of Undergraduate Education Sharon Salinger, as well as Executive Vice Dean of the Medicine F. Allan Hubbell.

The students face criminal conspiracy charges and six months in jail if convicted.

“The students were wrong to prevent a speaker invited to the campus from speaking and being heard,” the faculty letter says. “But the individual students and the Muslim Student Union were disciplined for this conduct by the University, including the MSU being suspended from being a student organization for a quarter.” University discipline, the faculty members said, was “sufficient.”

The criminal charges are “detrimental to our campus,” the faculty letter argues, calling the D.A.’s action “a dangerous precedent for the use of the criminal law against non-violent protests on campus.” It also criticized Rackauckas for risking “undoing the healing process which has occurred over the last year.”

Among those who signed the statement were Pulitzer Prize-winning writers Jack Miles and Barry Siegel, neurobiology pioneer James McGaugh, Penelope Maddy, famous for her work in the philosophy of mathematics, and award-winning historian of China Kenneth Pomeranz. Seven law professors also joined the call.

FULL TEXT OF STATEMENT AND SIGNATURES FOLLOWS

As faculty of the University of California, Irvine we are deeply distressed by the decision of the Orange County District Attorney to file criminal charges against the students who disrupted Ambassador Michael Oren’s speech on campus. The students were wrong to prevent a speaker invited to the campus from speaking and being heard. And the Muslim Student Union acted inappropriately in coordinating this and in misrepresenting its involvement to University officials. But the individual students and the Muslim Student Union were disciplined for this conduct by the University, including the MSU being suspended from being a student organization for a quarter. This is sufficient punishment. There is no need for criminal prosecution and criminal sanctions. The use of the criminal justice system will be detrimental to our campus as it inherently will be divisive and risk undoing the healing process which has occurred over the last year. It also sets a dangerous precedent for the use of the criminal law against non-violent protests on campus.

We urge the District Attorney to dismiss the criminal charges. At the very least, we urge the District Attorney and the students to agree to resolve the charges with the students performing community service and a short probation, after which the matter will be expunged from the students’ records.

Frank D. Bean, Chancellor’s Professor of Sociology
Kitty Calavita, Chancellor’s Professor of Criminology, Law and Society
Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean, School of Law
Joseph F. C. DiMento, Professor of Law and Policy, Planning & Design
Valerie Jenness, Dean, School of Social Ecology
Catherine Liu, Director, Humanities Center
Duncan Luce, Distinguished Research Professor of Cognitive Science
Penelope Maddy, Distinguished Professor of Logic & Philosophy of Science
George Marcus, Chancellor’s Professor of Anthropology
James M. McGaugh, Research Professor, Neurobiology and Behavior
Carrie Menkel-Meadow, Chancellor’s Professor of Law
Jack Miles, Distinguished Professor of English and Religious Studies
Mark Petracca, Chair, Dept. of Political Science
Kenneth Pomeranz, Chancellor’s Professor of History
Vicki Ruiz, Dean, School of Humanities
Sharon Salinger, Dean of Undergraduate Education
Barry Siegel, Director, Literary Journalism Program
Brook Thomas, Chancellor’s Professor of English
Jeffrey Wasserstrom, Chair, Dept. of History
Henry Weinstein, Senior Lecturer in Law and Literary Journalism
Jon Wiener, Professor of History
Dan L. Burk, Chancellor’s Professor of Law
Catherine Fisk, Chancellor’s Professor of Law
David A. Snow, Chancellor’s Professor of Sociology
F. Allan Hubbell, Executive Vice Dean, School of Medicine
Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Distinguished Professor of English & Comparative Literature
Etienne Balibar, Distinguished Professor of Humanities
Greg Duncan, Distinguished Professor of Education
Grace C. Tonner, Associate Dean of Lawyering Skills
Ulrike Strasser, Associate Professor, History and Director, European Studies
Irene Tucker, Associate Professor of English
James Given, Professor of History
Dickson D. Bruce, Jr., Professor of History, Emeritus
Hugh Roberts, Assoc. Prof. Dept. of English
Robert Newsom, Professor Emeritus, Department of English
Mark Poster, Emeritus Professor, Film and Media Studies and History
Sharon Block, Associate Professor of History
Ann Van Sant, English
Jennifer Terry, Chair and Associate Professor of Women’s Studies
Laura J. Mitchell, Associate Professor of History
Emily Rosenberg, Professor of History
R. Radhakrishnan, Chancellor’s Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Eyal Amiran, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature and Film and Media Studies
Jerome Christensen, Professor of English
Susan Jarratt, Comparative Literature
Rebeca Helfer, English Department
Annette Schlichter, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature
Timothy Tackett, Professor of History
Touraj Daryaee, History Department
Carolyn P. Boyd, Professor Emerita, Department of History
Amy Wilentz, Professor of English and Literary Journalism
Victoria Silver, Associate Professor of English
Alice Fahs, Associate Professor of History
Anne Walthall, Professor of History
Laura Kang, Associate Professor of Women’s Studies
Alexander Gelley, Professor, Dept. of Comparative Literature
Elizabeth Allen, Associate Professor of English
Rubén G. Rumbaut, Professor of Sociology
David A. Smith, Professor of Sociology and Planning, Policy and Design
Sarah Farmer, Associate Professor of History
Raul Fernandez, Social Sciences/Chicano Latino Studies
Keith Nelson, Professor Emeritus of History, Director, Program in Religious Studies
Estela Zarate, Assistant Professor, Department of Education
Leo Chavez, Anthropology
Deborah R. Vargas, Assistant Professor, Chicano/Latino Studies
Thurston Domina, Assistant Professor of Education and Sociology
, DeSipio, Chair, Department of Chicano/Latino Studies
Jutta Heckhausen, Professor, Psychology and Social Behavior
Heidi Tinsman, Associate Professor of History
Ellen Burt, Professor of French and Comparative Literature
Belinda Robnett-Olsen, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology
Robert Folkenflik, Edward A. Dickson Emeritus Professor of English
Ron Carlson, Professor of English
Edwin Amenta, Professor of Sociology and History
Francesca Polletta, Professor of Sociology
Susan K. Brown, Associate Professor of Sociology
Adriana Johnson, Comparative Literature
Rachel Sarah O’Toole, Assistant Professor, History Department
Nancy McLaughlin, Assistant Professor, History Department
Steven C. Topik, Professor of History
Gilbert G. Gonzalez, Professor, Chicano-Latino Studies
Judy Stepan-Norris, Sociology
Julia Reinhard Lupton, Professor of English and Comparative Literature
Spencer Olin, Professor Emeritus of History
Glen Mimura, Associate Dean of Graduate Study, School of Humanities
Ana Elizabeth Rosas, Assistant Professor, Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies and History
Robert Moeller, Department of History
Elizabeth M. Guthrie, French, retired
Cecile Whiting, Chair, Department of Art History
Cynthia Feliciano, Associate Professor, Sociology and Chicano/Latino Studies
David S. Meyer, Professor, Sociology
Charlie Chubb, Professor, Cognitive Sciences
Alejandro Morales, Professor, Department of Chicano/Latino Studies
Ian Munro, Associate Professor of Drama
Luke Hegel-Cantarella, Head of Scenic Design – Claire Trevor School of the Arts
David Igler, Associate Professor of History
Stephen Barker, Associate Dean, Claire Trevor School of the Arts
Cliff Faulkner, Senior Lecturer, Drama Department
Vincent Olivieri, Designer/Composer/Assistant Professor, Drama Department
Carol Burke, Professor, English

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3 responses to “100 UCI faculty demand that OC DA drop charges against UCI-11

  1. Can someone explain why there are even criminal charges in the first place?
    Is it a crime to conspire to do anything, even if the thing you are conspiring to do isn’t a crime (i.e. interrupt a speech?)

  2. It is a crime throughout the united states to disturb the peace of others and engage in disorderly conduct. The persons who were charged interfeared with the speaker’s first amendment rights to be heard. Most important, the rights of the persons in attendance were violated by intentional planned criminal acts. The gang of criminals could have engaged in lawful assembly and free speech had they chosen to do so without preventing the Ambassador from being heard. The law professors know that there was no First Amendment right to disrupt the Ambassador’s speech. The D. A.’s prosecution is lawful and proper. The faculty’s goal is to allow the hatefull anti-israel, anti -semetic group to continue to spread their hatred and attempted intimidation of Jewish college students. The faculty that signed this letter should be ashamed of themselves. A successful prosecution of these students could result in probation which could be revoked if their conduct recurs. This Moslem group has disrupted free speech on several college campuses. U.C.I. has been a hotbed of anti-semetic, anti Israel violence. and the perpetrators should have their day in court where they will be free to testify and try and defend their conduct.

  3. Where is the right to free speech of the Isaeli Ambassador? Deport lawbreakers.

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