UC Irvine Reduces Suspension But Increases Other Sanctions Against Muslim Student Union

Categories: Breaking News
msu-afternoon-prayer07_gilhooley.jpg
In response to an appeal of a year-long campus suspension, the University of California, Irvine, has announced revised sanctions against the Muslim Student Union (MSU).

The suspension was cut from a year to four months. But see how the university increased other punishments against MSU after the jump . . .

msu-afternoon-prayer07_gilhooley.jpg
Photo by John Gilhooley/OC Weekly
UC Irvine muslims hold afternoon prayers on campus in 2007.
The MSU's probation has been extended from one to two years, and community service hours have been doubled to 100 hours, the university also announced.

The shorter suspension still amounts to collective punishment of all members for the actions of a handful, incoming MSU vice president Hadeer Soliman said at a news conference this morning.

The ban "sends the wrong message" at a time when hate crimes against Muslims is rising in the U.S., said Soliman, who added MSU members have endured hate mail and personal attacks.

But a university spokesman noted the suspension only prevents the group from officially using UCI facilities.

Like all other students, MSU members can individually recruit members, attend any campus function or pray wherever he or she wants, even during the suspension, according to the spokesman.

The ban, which was handed down earlier in the summer, is part of the fallout from the repeated disruption of Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren's speech on campus in February.

The MSU agrees that seven UCI students stood up and protested "inhumane Israeli policies" that "deprive Palestinians of their human rights," and that some demonstrators were MSU members and officers.

However, the union disagrees with the university that the protest amounted to a sanctioned MSU event.

After the senior executive director of Student Housing revoked MSU's charter for a year for violations of UCI policies, the union filed an appeal in June, maintaining that the student protesters were acting on their own and not at the union's behest.

"Suspending the MSU would undoubtedly create a chilling effect and deprive Muslim students--both current and incoming--of a place where they can develop a sense of community with one another and with the broader UCI campus community," incoming MSU president Asaad Traina said at the time. "Depriving Muslim students a venue to associate jeopardizes their rights under the First Amendment and is an act of marginalization at a time when Muslim students and Muslim youth already feel besieged."


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