The dean of UC Irvine’s law school, Erwin Chemerinsky, said that what the students did was “not freedom of expression. . . I favor them being punished by the u...
.” However, it was
freedom of expression; he just didn’t happen to like their message or style. What the students did was heckle the ambassador, a form of protest with a long tradition in this country, engaged in by many, including politicians of both parties. To his credit, though, the dean did contest the use of a grand jury, stating that the university’s discipline was sufficient.
As a result of the incident, the Muslim Student Union was suspended by the university for one year, one of the only times that the school has banned a student group for anything other than hazing or alcohol abuse. This excessive disciplinary action by the university, and especially the use of the grand jury by the county, is already having a chilling effect on student free speech. Many have expressed shock at the excessiveness of the response and are questing whether it is safe to particpate in protests in the future .