The University of California at Irvine has reduced the length of its suspension of the campus Muslim Student Union from a year to a single quarter, while increasing the length of their probation from one year to two.

The MSU was suspended after a spring incident in which Irvine students disrupted an on-campus speech by an Israeli official.

I recently named the Irvine MSU case number ten in my list of student activism stories to watch in the coming year, saying that the suspension presented Irvine’s administration with a dilemma:

If the ban is rescinded, expect national attention from the media and the right-wing blogosphere. If it’s kept in place, look for Muslim students at Irvine and beyond to seek ways to circumvent its restrictions.

In reducing the length of the suspension, administrators have moved to avoid the pitfalls inherent in either of the courses of action I laid out — by keeping the suspension in place, they have placated potential critics on the right, but by cutting it to a single semester, they may have lowered the likelihood that Muslim students on campus will try to subvert it. In addition, the suspension itself, whatever its length, sets a precedent for future disciplinary action against chartered groups.

The MSU’s lawyer called the suspension a “tremendous disappointment” and a threat to students’ constitutional rights. The group’s vice president said the MSU had not ruled out filing a lawsuit against the university or attempting to charter a new group.

Saturday Morning Update | The blog Occupy UCI has the text of the university’s email announcing the suspension and other sanctions (including a requirement that MSU representatives complete one hundred hours of community service before applying for reinstatement). Occupy UCI has also posted MSU’s response, in which they say that the decision will have “a dangerous chilling effect for all students at American universities.”