UCI welcomes all opinions and encourages a free exchange of ideas – in fact, we defend free speech as one of our bedrock principles as a public university. Yet, we must protect everyone’s right to express themselves without disruption. This concept is clearly articulated in our policies and campus messaging. We will hold firm in enforcing it.
On May 10, 2017, an on-campus discussion sponsored by Students Supporting Israel was interrupted by shouting and chanting from a group of individuals who entered the session during the question-and-answer period. The group left after several minutes and the event continued as planned.
UCI’s Office of Academic Integrity & Student Conduct opened a review of the incident. The Student Conduct Officer spent weeks interviewing multiple witnesses, reviewing videos and analyzing other pertinent information, in accordance with the due process procedures found in the UCI Code of Student Conduct (https://aisc.uci.edu/policies/pacaos/code-of-student-conduct-handbook.pdf).
Based on the review, it was determined that a group of individuals organized by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) disrupted a portion of the question-and-answer period, in violation of university policy. As a result, SJP was sanctioned with disciplinary probation for two academic years, ending June 16, 2019. During this time, the organization must abide by UCI’s standards of conduct, 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. Any further violations of university policy may result in suspension or a revocation of the organization’s status.
SJP leaders were notified of the decision on August 22, 2017, and filed an appeal on August 31, 2017. The appeal process is expected to take several weeks. The Dean of Students or his designee will consider the appeal and make a final decision, which can be to affirm, modify or reverse the sanction. The outcome of the appeal is final.
We sincerely thank our Student Conduct Officer, witnesses, and all others participating in this process for helping us determine the facts and reach a determination.