students' rights

students’ rights

Disruptive Protests Have No Long-Term Effects on UC Irvine Campus

University of California Irvine SealEarly last year, 11 Muslim students at the University of California, Irvine, interrupted a speech that was being given by Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren. The students started yelling at Oren during his speech, calling him a “mass murderer” and a “war criminal.” Last week, 10 of these students were brought before an Orange County jury, facing misdemeanor charges. They were found to be guilty for conspiring to disrupt a meeting and disrupting the speech, and were sentenced to community service and probation. Although it is sad that these students are now labeled as criminals, the worst part is that freedom of speech is now being called into question on college campuses across the country.

“When you talk to students across college campuses, now they are pondering what is legal and what is not (concerning public speech),” said Kifah Shah, a spokeswoman for Stand with the Eleven, a group that supports the guilty students.”This has a chilling effect.”

However, the prosecutor, Dan Wagner, feels that these students were not merely exercising their freedom of speech. instead, they were acting as “censors” who used the “heckler’s veto” to keep the Israeli Ambassador from delivering his speech.

Evidently, these types of protests are becoming more common as pro-Palestinian activists try to disrupt Israeli speakers. In 2009, people at the University of Chicago interrupted a speech that the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was giving. It happened again in November 2010 when activists shouted and raised banners during a speech that current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu game in New Orleans. On September 1, 2011, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was interrupted during their performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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Hope College Accepts Gay Students, but Not Gay Groups

Hope College is a private school that is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America. The school prides itself on its religious heritage and has had a long-stranding opposition to homosexuality. However, on February 1, 2011, the school announced plans to lift its ban on the study and discussion of homosexuality. Hope College will still not support any groups that support gay rights and issues.

The change of policy came about because of pressure from Hope alumni. The alumni asked the school to reconsider the original policy, which did not condone homosexual acts nor would it provide financial support for homosexual groups or groups that support homosexual acts.

The alumni decided to take action when Hope administrators refused to allow Dustin Lance Black, an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, to show his film “Milk” on campus because the main character is gay man. The alumni created a group called “Hope is Ready,” which is “dedicated to full inclusion and open dialogue on Hope’s campus.”

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Pro-Gun Group Fights for Concealed Weapons on Campus

A pro-gun group is arguing that students should be aloud to bring concealed weapons to the University of Arkansas campus. Arkansas Carry, a group formed to promote gun rights, wrote a letter Monday asking the Department of Education to allow students with concealed-carry permits to be able to bring guns on campus.

Currently, state law bans guns from college campus events, buildings and other property owned by the university. Arkansas Carry, however, believes that the law is being misinterpreted.

The letter, which was sent to the Director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education Jim Purcell  states that a 2003 attorney general’s opinion allows students to bring handguns to campus as long as they don’t bring them in a university building. As it is now, students who bring a gun to a school parking lot face expulsion.

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Should Guns Be Allowed on a College Campus?

Imagine you are sitting in your Intro to Political Science classroom. It’s a lecture hall and there are almost 250 people enrolled in your class. The professor is kind of boring, so you glance over to your left and see another student’s open backpack. Inside the backpack is a gun, and he’s reaching into his bag right now. Scary right?

It’s scenarios like this one that make most universities hesitant to allow students with concealed-carry permits to bring their handguns onto the campus. The student from my example might just be reaching for a pencil, but he could also be reaching for the gun, which he would be legally allowed to have on campus. Not good, right?

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