Monday, February 15, 2010

UCI Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky on the First Amendment

Erwin Chemerinsky, left, with students after his talk. Photograph © Daniel C. Tsang 2010. UPDATED with audio link: To listen to audio, click here: .

Erwin Chemerinsky, the founding dean of the new UCI School of Law, February 11, 2010 talked at UC Irvine about the First Amendment in the wake of the shouting down of the recent lecture at UCI by the Israeli Ambassador to Washington, Michael Oren and the arrests of the students involved.

Chemerinksy's talk, previously scheduled, happened several days after the Oren lecture, in a larger lecture hall to accommodate the crowd of mostly students who packed the room.

As a public service, KUCI's Subversity program airs Chemerinsky's entire talk and the subsequent Q and A session. The show airs today (15 February 2010), airing 9-10 a.m. on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, California, and simulcast via

Meanwhile, student activists have rallied to urge support for the 11 students (3 from UC Riverside, 8 from UCI) arrested by UCI Police, asking why they had to be arrested. One statement circulating among activists suggests making these points to UCI Chancellor Michael Drake and to the UCI Dean of Students, who would be imposing any administrative sanctions on the UCI students, including potential expulsion:

· It was unjust to arrest students for simply having the courage to
stand up and speak out against a man responsible for propagating the
deaths of thousands of innocent people.
· Civil disobedience has historically played an instrumental role in
the civil rights movement in America the eventually ensured equality
and human rights for all minorities.
· Michael Oren is a representative of a state that is condemned by
more UN Human Rights Council resolutions than all other countries in
the world, and he should not be honored at UC Irvine.

The statement said "we will not support an educational
institution that threatens to punish its’ students with suspension and
expulsion for standing up for their principles."

Supporters of the arrested students have started a Facebook page, "Drop All Charges Against the Eleven", which as of this morning has 4,657 members.

Meanwhile the controversy has again enraged the Jewish community, with Rabbi Dovid Eliezrie, who heads the Rabbinical Council of Orange Council, even suggesting that Chancellor Drake consider expelling the students. [An earlier version incorrectly attributed a call for ending donations to UCI to Rabbi Elierzrie; but another group has formally called for that.] At the same time, the Muslim Public Affairs Council weighed in, calling for an investigation into the arrests.

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