StandWithUs Congratulates UC Irvine for Sanctioning SJP on August 30, 2017
(Irvine, CA - September 5, 2017) -- StandWithUs congratulates the University of California at Irvine (UCI) for sanctioning Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), after SJP illegally disrupted a Students Supporting Israel (SSI) event on May 10, 2017. On August 30, the university announced that SJP will be under, "disciplinary probation for two academic years," including a requirement to, "meet with the Dean of Students six times per year to discuss free speech issues, and consult with a representative of the dean's office before hosting or co-hosting any campus event." If they violate university policy again, SJP may face suspension or having their status as a campus organization revoked. While SJP has appealed this decision, we strongly urge UCI to uphold and fully enforce it.
"SJP engaged in illegal activity by disrupting a public meeting on campus," said Yael Lerman, Director of the StandWithUs Legal Department. "Though we urged the university to go further and pursue prosecution of the individuals responsible, we are encouraged by this step towards accountability. No student or student group should be allowed to deny the 1st amendment rights of others on campus."
On May 10, 2017 SJP intentionally disrupted and hurled slanderous accusations during the question and answer portion of a lecture organized by members of UCI's SSI chapter. The event, "Reservists on Duty," featured a panel of Israeli military reservists. In the aftermath, StandWithUs and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law (LDB) sent two letters to the UCI administration, asking them to discipline SJP for violating university policy and the CA penal code.
StandWithUs urges the UC Irvine administration to publicize this decision again at the beginning of the academic year, and use this as an opportunity to educate the entire university community on the importance of free speech on campus. We also encourage other universities to learn from this incident and UC Irvine's subsequent decision, in order to better protect the rights of all students to freely exchange ideas and host programs on campus.
We stand with Students Supporting Israel, Hillel, and the rest of the Jewish and pro-Israel community at UCI, as well as all of the organizations that helped SSI stand up for their first amendment rights. We look forward to working with our partners to empower pro-Israel programming at this campus and beyond.