Yesterday fifteen civil rights organizations and professional bar associations from across the nation sent a letter to Chancellor Michael Drake of UC Irvine that condemned the recommended one-year suspension of the university’s Muslim Student Union. The student organization was suspended for the actions of 10 non-violent student protests.

“UC Irvine’s MSU has consistently been a target of disproportionately harsh treatment by outside groups and the administration,” says Christina Sintta, a law clerk for Asian Law Caucus. "This group is being singled out because of their political speech," she adds.

The ALC is one of the fifteen groups who signed the letter; other goups include the Jewish Voice for Peace, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

The MSU claims they did not coordinate the ten students who got up and interrupted Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren’s public speech on U.S-Israeli relations back in February. The protesting students yelled one-line statements such as, "Michael Oren, propagating murder is not an expression of free speech" before proceeding to walk out of the room.

“This type of peaceful protesting is absolutely typical campus behavior. Students are being targeted who were simply utilizing the first amendment right to free speech,” Sintta explains.

Activism and organized protests have long been a staple on California college campuses, but Lisa Cornish, senior executive director of Student Housing, finds UC Irvine’s MSU went too far with this particular protest.

In the disciplinary report addressed to the MSU, Cornish outlines a detailed report for why she recommends suspension. She claims, “the disruptions were planned, orchestrated, and coordinated in advance by the Muslim Student Union.” Cornish cites an agenda item from a Feb 3 group meeting as evidence, among other examples.

Jesse Cheng, UC Student Regent, says people have to take into account the historical context of student protests at UCI when discussing this incident. “There's been some really extreme rhetoric over the years and UCI students seen Jewish students and Muslim students go at it for a long time. It seems split: some students are totally outraged by the recommendation, others' are in agreement."

The Muslim Student Union has appealed the recommendation, but Cheng, who won’t take a stance on the issue because of his status as Student Regent, wouldn’t be surprised if the one-year suspension goes through.

“MSU has a history of protests on campus and the narrative adopted by many at UCI is not neessarily that the group have crossed the line, but that they need to know where to line is drawn,” Cheng explains.