Why is “Irvine 11” trending on Twitter right now? Because the the 10 students who interrupted a speech at UC Irvine by Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, have been found guilty of conspiring to disrupt Oren’s speech and then actually doing so. Both crimes are misdemeanors.
Here’s what the LA Times says the case was all about:
In a case that garnered national attention over free-speech rights, the trial centered on conflicting views of who was being censored. Prosecutors argued that Ambassador Michael Oren was “shut down” when his speech was interrupted by students who took turns shouting preplanned phrases in a crowded UC Irvine ballroom.
Six defense attorneys argued that the students, seven from UC Irvine and three from UC Riverside, were only following the norm of other college protests and were being singled out.
A guilty verdict, the defense had said during the trial, could chill student activism and the free exchange of ideas at colleges nationwide.
Each student was sentenced to three years probation and 53 hours of community service. The UCI students and the Muslim Student Union, which has been found of inviting anti-Semitic speakers to campus, were previously disciplined by the university.
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