University stands firm

10.06.04

Concordia is defending its decision to refuse to allow Ehud Barak to speak on campus, despite yesterday’s free protest attended by a couple of hundred people… and despite the fact that the RCMP contradicts Concordia’s assessment of how difficult the security situation really is:

They (police and Concordia security) may or not have exaggerated their worry, but they were anticipating a high degree of risk,” [rector Frederick] Lowy said in explaining why the university turned down sites on campus for the speech.

“We did not want our campus to be a police state,” Lowy said.

“Taking everything into consideration, our risk assessment team recommended to me that we not hold it at all.”

[ . . . ]

But yesterday a Montreal spokesperson for the RCMP, which was consulted on the issue and which would normally be responsible for security for a diplomatic VIP like Barak, said it doesn’t consider campuses an especially difficult environment.

“We’ve protected people before at mostly all the universities – McGill, Laval, the Universite de Montreal,” Michel Blackburn said after consulting with an RCMP VIP-security expert in Montreal.

It’s obvious to even the casual observer that the university is hiding behind the security concern… that they’re simply not willing to risk another flare-up by the Palestinian students, so they’re appeasing them. SPHR, of course, is delighted at their ability to shut down any Israeli speaker it wants now. As a result, free speech at Concordia only exists for those willing to resort to violence.

I haven’t heard anything about a concentrated letter-writing campaign. But if you’d like to let Concordia know what you think about all this, you can drop them a line:

Frederick Lowy, Rector – Frederick.Lowy@concordia.ca
Michael Di Grappa, VP Services – Michael.DiGrappa@concordia.ca

Mailing address:
Suite BC-101
Montreal, QC H3G 1M8
1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.
Canada

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 segacs 10.07.04 at 2:15 PM

Opposing something because you don’t want to make waves is different from opposing something because you think it’s wrong. Like I said, I understand why students don’t want to rock the boat. I know all too well what campus feels like when tensions arise. But that doesn’t make it right to cower in the face of this threat, even if it’s the easy way out. Let me respectfully disagree, and point out that plenty of people who “know what’s actually going on” are right to make an issue out of this.

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2 Dave 10.07.04 at 4:04 PM

plenty of people who “know what’s actually going on” are right to make an issue out of this.

uhhh… like who? sorry, but the only possible outcome of all this is to pur sphr back into power in the csu.

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3 Dave 10.07.04 at 4:07 PM

put

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4 Dave 10.07.04 at 11:20 PM

Segacs; I’m still curious, why do you think this is a good idea?

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5 segacs 10.08.04 at 2:20 AM

You mean, besides what I’ve posted all over this blog?

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6 Dave 10.08.04 at 3:06 AM

Right, besides for people who don’t go to Concordia. I don’t give a shit about what people who don’t go to concordia and who know nothing about Concordia have to say. I’m talking about people who are active at Concordia now and who are best suited to jugde these type of things.

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7 segacs 10.09.04 at 2:08 AM

You’re right, I don’t go to Concordia. I did, though, during some of the most tumultuous years. And I happen to think I know quite a bit about what goes on there, though my activism days are, admittedly, in the past. I understand there’s a difference of opinion about this, but I don’t think that capitulating because you don’t want to “stir the pot” is the right way to win this very important battle. Excuse me, but the classic Canadian “if we don’t piss them off maybe they’ll leave us alone” doesn’t work so well now does it?

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8 Dave 10.09.04 at 2:36 AM

“The campaign led to the admin’s mailboxes being stuffed with over 3000 e-mails.”

That should be admin and CSU’s mailboxes. The campaign was actually directed at the CSU.

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9 segacs 10.09.04 at 2:42 AM

Yes, and I plan on addressing a post to the key differences between then and now shortly, cheifly dealing with the CSU/admin distinction. Stay tuned.

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10 DaninVan 10.12.04 at 8:40 AM

Why is it always Concordia? Why not UVic or http://www.uwaterloo.ca/canu/ ?

I don’t need to be a mortician to know what something dead smells like. Dave, you’re dead wrong when you state that ‘it’ doesn’t concern anybody but current Concordia students. If YOU don’t understand the significance of what Sari’s been reporting, then we are, all of us, in a lot deeper shit then we imagined. Where’s the JDL when you need them…

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11 Hanthala 10.14.04 at 8:55 PM

THE JDL??? Dan, I thought you said you were opposed to violent protesters? Irv Rubin was about as violent as they get. Crackpot raving f***ing lunatic. And his presence at Concordia on September 10, 2001–immediately following death threats to the Concordia Student Union and a few individual students and professors–was enough, thank you very much.

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12 BOSSMAN 12.17.07 at 10:23 PM

Greg, you’re a retard. How can you call Rosenshein, Spiro, and Sarna self-hating Jews when they have protected and are the ones that are protecting Jewish interests? The invite of Barak was one of many dumb moves by Hillel and it’s administration during the Elharrar years. Also, it’s no coincidence that there were clear cases of electoral fraud or irregularities during those years. Do the math, buddy!! Maybe you should look at Elharrar’s executives and see what they have done and what he accomplished. I would argue, not much!!

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