Last night, Michael Oren, Israeli ambassador to the U.S., shared his perspectives on American-Israeli relations in a free public lecture in the UC Irvine Student Center. During his talk, several members of the audience stood and shouted – one at a time, repeatedly – in an effort to disrupt his message.
This behavior is intolerable. Freedom of speech is among the most fundamental, and among the most cherished of the bedrock values our nation is built upon. A great university depends on the free exchange of ideas. This is non-negotiable. Those who attempt to suppress the rights of others violate core principles that are the foundation of any learning community. We cannot and do not allow such behavior.
Eleven individuals were arrested as a result of their actions last night and are being processed accordingly. Additionally, the Office of Student Conduct has initiated the Student Judiciary Review process to address issues under their jurisdiction.
I am very pleased that the ambassador stayed on and was able to complete his speech. This university is, and always will be, committed to the expression of all ideas and viewpoints.
Chancellor Michael Drake