M.E.Ch.A. de UCI’s Official Response to the Proposed Banning of MSU from Campus

(via MEChA de UCI Facebook):

Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan de UC Irvine emphatically opposes the proposal to ban the Muslim Student Union (MSU) from UCI campus. This is a racist proposal that will be detrimental not only to the Muslim community but to the campus community as a whole. This is a direct attack to any organization that is concerned in social justice issues. From our understanding free speech was still a right and people of color still had the right to protest/rally and be outspoken against injustices.

This proposal is an example of the growing intolerance by the administration for students to engage in protest of any kind. By suspending MSU, UC Irvine is sending an unfortunate and dangerous message to MEChA and the rest of the student body. Rather than celebrating an education which allows us to question that which we disagree, UCI is consistently showcasing that the celebration and protection of free speech is not valuable when its not in their interest. MEChA recognizes that free speech is not something which always makes us comfortable, but it is something that must always be protected. Even if that means the school will not get donations from powerful individuals. You are not only silencing MSU, you are directly silencing Muslim students, Chican@ and anyone that does not agree with Zionist polices, or systems of power that kill, abuse and marginalize human beings.

This current proposal against the MSU not only unfairly punishes one of UCI campus most important groups and a MEChA ally, it sets a precedent for further and harsher punishment for other organizations. We are one of the longest standing sociopolitical organizations within the campus, throughout the years we have worked with MSU in conferences, our outreach programs and workshops. This relationship has allowed both groups to learn about each other’s communities, and similar struggles, your actions will not only affect MSU, but MEChistAs and the youth we work with.

This unjust proposal is an outright result of the Institution again in not putting the students first, but outside sources. MEChA de UCI is asking for the University to stop serving on the interest of outside organizations such as the Jewish Federation of Orange County who, according to their official blog, have been awaiting such an action for a long time. The University is supposed to work FOR students NOT against them. This demonstrates that UCI is more concerned with the image they are portraying to the public than the education and well-being of the students. As a political organization, if MEChA decides to protest or organize a rally, are we going to be suspended too? Are WE NEXT? As an institution are you trying to create of space where individuals can become responsible human beings concerned in making this a better world or create depoliticized masses? We would like to believe you are working against the latter.

This proposal denies an opposing voice and a space for dialogue on a campus that is extremely conservative and largely Pro-Israel. It legitimizes the hostile environment that already exists for Muslim students and their allies.

This proposal is an escalation of the attacks by administration on student activism. By suspending MSU, UC Irvine is making a statement to all other activists that they will not tolerate any protests that do not follow their protocol. It is important for administration to recognize that under certain circumstances we cannot be expected to abide by their guidelines. In addition, this proposal is a form of censorship as it sets a precedent for further and harsher punishment for other organizations.

M.E.Ch.A de UCI stands in solidarity with MSU and the 11 students who acted as brave individuals in protesting the criminal Isreali ambassador Michael Oren. MSU is a long-standing organization that fosters a sense of community among the Muslim student population and allies that work to fight for social justice on and off campus. This proposal divests interest in maintaining an important resource for Muslim identified students as well as their fellow UCI companions. The inexistence of MSU will be harmful for students seeking a safe and encouraging space in which to further develop their identities, share and express a culture that has been marginalized, and ensure retention of Muslim students by means of a support system. The dismembering of MSU directly affects the overall experience of UCI students in a negative direction. As such we demand that there be no action taken against the Muslim Student Union or the Irvine 11. In addition MEChA de UCI demands a direct apology from the Institution to our MSU sisters and brothers for further alienating them, and unjustly characterizing them as invaluable students/human beings.

In solidarity with all people in struggle around the world,

M..E.Ch.A de UCI

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