College campuses have a long tradition of embracing free speech, dissent and protest, even when it reaches an uncomfortable pitch the way it did at UC Irvine in February. They have long been relatively safe havens for young adults to air their views and make some noise, particularly in a country where exercising such rights is discouraged in the so-called "real world" of adult responsibility that awaits students the day after they toss their mortarboards.
Now sometimes these protests get a bit out of hand, but all in all, college is the time and place for (mostly) young Americans to test boundaries. And we also believe that unless a serious crime has occurred, it is largely up to the campus officials to issue discipline, when warranted.
That is why it appears that the Orange County district attorney's office overreacted by filing criminal complaints against 19 UC Irvine students and sympathizers who marched into the college administration building in support of campus janitors, making a good deal of noise along the way.