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
Montreal, QC H3G 1M8
1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd. W.