Monday, January 31, 2011

Grand Jury Investigation of UCI Protesters Gives Lie To UCI's Commitment to Free Speech

Updated 11 February, 2011: 100 UCI faculty sign letter against criminalizing campus protests.

Updated 4 February 2011: Conspiracy Charges are brought by DA against Irvine 11: LA Times blog entry.

Updated 1 February 2011: To listen to the podcast of this program, click on:
There is now a petition online against criminalizing the student protests: petition.

Despite UC Irvine's professed commitment to the First Amendment [watch UCI video above on Free Speech], troubling recent signs indicate that the heavy hand of the law is coming down on student protesters on campus, reinforcing UCI's new reputation as a new site of student resistance (and repression).

A criminal pretrial for 19 UCI students who staged a labor protest last year is imminent (March 7, 2011) while a grand jury has apparently been empaneled to investigate the activities of UCI's Muslim Student Union.

For this evening's edition of Subversity, we talk with Carol A. Sobel, a SantaMonica- based civil rights attorney for six MSU students and former students who were called in January 2011 to testify before the Orange County grand jury investigating, apparently, conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor! One, a UCI student, was subpoenaed outside a classroom. The MSU was suspended during Fall Quarter 2010 for an incident relating to protests during the talk given by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren last year on campus. Even UCI Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, who appeared on Air Talk on KPCC late last week with Carol Sobel, agreed that criminal charges should not be pursued. All this crackdown on free speech makes one wonder about UCI's real commitment to the First Amendment. Is it all just talk?

To listen to Carol Sobel and show host Daniel C. Tsang on KUCI discussing the ramifications of this widening legal tangle facing UCI students, listen to Subversity this evening at 5-6 p.m. on KUCI, 88.9 FM in Orange County, California. The show is also simulcast via at the same time.

Full disclosure: Carol Sobel was one of the show host's attorneys when he successfully sued the CIA for spying on him.

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