UC Irvine’s Senior Executive Director of Student Housing recently gave a recommendation to suspend the UCI’s Muslim Student Union group for one year. The allegations arose as a result to a UCI-hosted event at which Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren was disrupted several times by students, some of whom were members of UCI’s MSU. The MSU, who were surprised by this recommendation, filed an appeal and released a statement on their website.
The Jewish Federation Orange County was quick to publicize the recommendation to suspend MSU in a video they released. Contrary to what the Jewish Federation President Shalom Elcott has stated in the video, the MSU has not been “officially sanctioned and suspended” by UCI’s administration. Furthermore, it seems that the advocates for MSU’s suspension intend to emphasize the organization’s apparent support of disrupting Oren’s speech to justify the idea of dismantling the student group. What they fail to highlight are the MSU’s positive contributions on its campus and beyond.
Like many other student organizations, the MSU has a history of involvement in humanitarian efforts such as hosting blood drives, making and packing PB&J sandwiches for the homeless, and promoting “Humanitarian Day”. In this year alone, the active MSU hosted a variety of events including Islam Awareness Quarter, Hijab Day Challenge, and a fundraiser for Haiti. By selling shawerma and applying henna designs, the MSU was able to raise approximately $5,000 for Haiti within two weeks.
Supporters of the recommendation to suspend the MSU have failed to recognize and acknowledge the positive impact this MSU has had on the local and global level. In fact, the MSU was recently awarded the Social Justice Award by the UCI Cross Cultural Center. By pushing for the suspension, the advocates harshly and unfairly attempt to prevent this MSU from not only organizing future events that the advocates do not find to their liking, but also ones that may benefit the greater community. It’s ironic that in their letter, the Jewish Federation suggests that the administrators require the MSU members to participate in 50 hours of community service collectively. Yet, I ask why they overlook and refuse to recognize the services the MSU has already done and has the potential of doing.