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Free speech rights continue for suspended student group
26 April 2002

Media Relations

UC Berkeley Dean of Students Karen Kenney today (4/26/02) issued the following statement to clarify misunderstandings about the temporary suspension of Students for Justice in Palestine as a registered student group:

Free speech is a cherished tradition at UC Berkeley. Unfortunately, news reports of a decision by UC Berkeley to temporarily suspend recognition of Students for Justice in Palestine as a registered student group following an unlawful occupation of a building where classes were being held have led to confusion over the free speech rights of this group on campus. It is important to clarify that suspension of the group's status as a registered student group does not preclude it from free speech activities afforded all students. It does, however, limit the group's use of university resources, such as reserving classrooms for meetings and the Sproul Hall steps for scheduled events.

All registered student groups agree to abide by regulations governing the use of campus facilities. The campus may suspend a group's privileges when its members violate the rules or when the campus has reason to believe a student group will continue to undertake activities that will disrupt the academic mission.

As Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl said on April 8, the day before the building occupation:

"This University has a proud history in the defense of free expression. It is our responsibility to provide a neutral forum for individuals and groups to advocate their cause. ... Most importantly, it is our responsibility to protect the rights of all members of the campus community to pursue their reason for being here – the work of teaching, learning, and research – uninterrupted by anyone."