Nov. 5, 2004 — Media coverage of a statement issued by Federation CJA yesterday may have caused misunderstanding about Concordia’s position regarding inviting Ehud Barak to speak at Concordia. Concordia’s position has not changed and the university’s primary concern remains the safety and security of our students, faculty, staff and our guests.
As Dr. Lowy outlined in his update to the community of Oct. 25 and subsequent opinion page pieces in the Toronto Star, The Gazette and Le Devoir:
“Concordia is presently reviewing its physical plant and general environment. Changes recommended by experts will be considered so that all speakers can then be welcomed on campus. And this will be done in a timely fashion with an eye towards implementing the necessary changes this academic year. Until then, we will continue to hold off campus under Concordia auspices any event considered not secure in our present facilities. Freedom of expression will continue to be supported as it always has been at Concordia.”
This has been Concordia’s position and remains Concordia’s position.
The university is examining possible locations from a security viewpoint with the intent of making the necessary modifications so an event of this kind can be held with the proper level of security, dignity and respect that such a visit demands.
In the light of the work that remains to be done, this will certainly not be possible in this calendar year. The university will try to make this possible before the end of the academic year.
This is spin 101: try to please everybody and offend nobody by saying contradictory things in the same statement.
The fact is, Concordia initially said no to the Barak speech, citing security concerns. Now they’re saying they hope they can host him in the current academic year on campus. Whether they admit it or not, that’s a reversal. And the right thing to do. But I wish they weren’t so cowardly about admitting it.