Concordia: What they’re saying



“A small group of thugs are holding an entire university community hostage and deciding who is allowed to speak and who is not. All people who value democratic principles such as freedom of expression and speech should share our outrage with this intolerable situation.” – co-Presidents Jason Portnoy and Yacov Fruchter, in a press release.

“That peace that we all felt at Concordia was a Band-Aid. This was not resolved.” – Jason Portnoy, co-President, as reported by CTV news.

“I am truly embarrassed by such failures in a democracy in the 21st century. I am afraid to ask, but if my fellow students are not interested in free speech and inquiry for all of us on campus, regardless of a speaker’s political opinions, than what exactly are we learning at school?” – Tal Elharrar, in an opinion piece in today’s Link

Federation CJA:

“This is a day of great sadness for those who value freedom of expression in our universities and in Canadian society. Concordia University has allowed itself to be taken hostage by a small and violent group within its campus. With this decision, Concordia has demonstrated that the right to free speech is only as strong as the institutional will to protect it.” – Sylvain Abitbol, President, in a statement.

The university administration:

“It is unfortunate, but a reality nonetheless, that the safety of its community members and guests must occupy a central position in planning events at an institution dedicated to free speech.” – Concordia vice-president Michael Di Grappa, in a press release.


“It’s a matter of Canada respecting its own laws. You don’t allow someone into the country who’s an accused war criminal. [ . . . ] Bringing (Barak) to campus would have shown a general disregard for a very large number of people who don’t want him to speak.” – Erik Yingling, SPHR, in today’s Gazette

“He is a war criminal and he shouldn’t be allowed to speak at a public institution like Concordia. Free speech is not unlimited in Canada. I’m glad they learned from their first mistake and came to their senses.” – Chadi Marouf, SPHR, in today’s Globe and Mail.

“I want to make this clear, there would still be people who would not want him to come, he is after all an accused war criminal, but personally I would go to the speech and, if a question and answer period was guaranteed, I would call him out on the crimes he is accused of,” said Yingling. “That being said, I think the university exercised a good degree of common sense when rendering their final decision.” – Eric Yingling, SPHR, in today’s Link.

The Media:

“Freedom of speech is again under assault at Montreal’s Concordia University by administrators who seem to value tranquility on campus more than they do the rights of people to debate controversial ideas.”Toronto Star editorial.

“[The SPHR] is amazed at its own success… they don’t even have to break windows again. Their reputation precedes them. The mere threat of violence was enough to get the university to capitulate.” – Tommy Schnurmacher, on CJAD radio this morning.

At large:

The contention that a speech by a former Head of State of a democracy can be classified as “provocation” is absurd; rather, it should be seen as a welcome beginning to open dialogue. The stigma associated with a “controversial” speaker represents a disturbing delusion. If a controversial viewpoint is defined as one that many people will disagree with, then controversial speakers are the ones who will most likely advance the course of debate on contentious issues. I’d far prefer to listen to a “controversial” speaker than one who attracts no dissenting opinions. – Josh Fisher, Concordia student in a letter to the Link.

“This would no doubt please the anti-Israeli activists who prevented Benjamin Netanyahu from speaking in 2002. With one riot, they’ll have managed to prevent two Israeli statesmen from speaking at a Canadian university.”– Jonathan Kay, posting to the National Post blog.

“Congratulations, my leftie friends. Concordia is yours. You will no longer have to suffer the indignity of viewpoints you don’t like being represented on campus. It may be some time before the dictatorship of the proletariat takes over society as a whole, but dang it, this is a start.”Damian Penny.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Flanstein 10.05.04 at 6:44 PM

How surprising that smug, Jew-hating members of the “religion of peace” are allowed to dictate to a public university who is and is not allowed to speak.


2 Damian P. 10.05.04 at 8:37 PM

“You don’t allow someone into the country who’s an accused war criminal.”

I accuse Yasser Arafat of being a war criminal. Will SPHR join me in making sure he’s denied entry into Canada?


3 Eric 10.06.04 at 6:06 AM

Hey, in this country, you’re innocent into accused guilty! Or is that PROVEN guilty? I forget. Obviously, so did they.


4 Dave Maurer 05.15.06 at 8:43 PM

Eric Yingling:

I knew you and you’re Dad back when you weren’t famous.

Anyway you must be in a pretty powerful group to prevent free speech on campus.
That would never happen at an American University. Here Everyone is allowed to be heard and speakers of any nationality or cause cannot be stopped by political groups because they do not agree with that person’s ideals.
But it’s neat to see that you’re so involved.
Email me if you have a chance. I’m in Provincetown at Spiritus.



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