(JTA) — The University of California, Irvine suspended a Muslim student group over its disruption of a lecture by Israel’s ambassador to the United States.
In a May 27 letter to the Muslim Student Union released Monday by the university, the student affairs disciplinary committee announced that after an investigation it found the group guilty of violating certain sections of the university’s policies applying to campus activities, organizations and students, including disorderly conduct and obstructing university activities.
During a Feb. 8 speech at the university sponsored by a campus pro-Israel group, Ambassador Michael Oren repeatedly was heckled and interrupted; 11 students were arrested in the incident.
The disciplinary committee, based on evidence found on social networking sites and personal observation, found that "The disruptions were planned, orchestrated and coordinated in advance by the Muslim Student Union."
The student group has been suspended for one year, beginning Sept. 1, and will be subject to a one-year probation upon its reinstatement. The members of the group also will be required to perform a collective 50 hours of community service.
The student union has appealed the decision and asserts that it did not coordinate the protest, according to reports.
The university released the decision after the Orange County Jewish Federation filed a Freedom of Information Act request, the Orange County Register reported.
"The university’s disciplinary action regarding the MSU establishes an important and appropriate precedent and sends a powerful message to other universities across the nation," said Shalom Elcott, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Orange County.
The Zionist Organization of America, which has for years tracked incidents of hostility against Jews on Irvine’s campus, praised the decision.
"This is a historic step that sends a message to all universities to not tolerate dangerous bigotry against Jews on campus," Morton Klein, ZOA’s president, told JTA.