[Universities in Canada are now trying to outlaw specific phrases, I kid you not. Once you abandon Aryan concept of free speech for the jewish concept of hate speech, you open a real can of worms. Thought police are required at every corner.]
Students protest for free speech
McMaster under attack for banning phrase ‘Israeli apartheid’
[Note the way reporter frames it: the censors are the victims.]
by Valerie Di Mascio
McMaster University was the scene of a rowdy rally Feb. 29, as students from Ontario universities raised their voices to support the freedom of speech they claim was infringed on after the school’s student union (MSU) and the school’s administration allegedly banned the use of the phrase “Israeli apartheid.”
The decision to ban the phrase was a request by the McMaster administration and imposed by the student union, according to Nora Loreta, president of the Ryerson Students’ Union (RSU).
According to York University’s newspaper, The Excalibur, on Feb. 8, McMaster’s Human Rights and Equity Services and MSU sent an e-mail to McMaster Muslims for Peace and Justice notifying the group of the decision to ban the phrase “Israeli apartheid.”
“The university has taken the position that literature which refers to Israeli apartheid and activities promoted under the banner Israeli Apartheid Week are [...] in violation of the university’s efforts to ensure that all people will be treated with dignity and tolerance,” said the e-mail.
But the McMaster administration is now denying the allegations, stating that such a ban was never adopted by the university.
“Unfortunately a great deal of misinformation has circulated. We will not and have not taken any actions to abridge that freedom [of speech],” said McMaster provost Ilene Busch-Vishniac.
Furthermore, in a Feb. 29 written statement, McMaster president Peter George denied the ban.
“Over the past few weeks [...] the University community has dealt with questions surrounding Israeli Apartheid Week prompted by incorrect information that the university has banned the use of the term Israeli Apartheid on campus,” he wrote. “Let me be categorically clear. The term has not been banned. McMaster’s commitment to freedom of speech has not been compromised.”
Ryan Moran, MSU president, told The Excalibur the decision to ban the phrase was specific to an Israeli Apartheid Week banner that contained “violent imagery.”
On Feb. 26 the RSU took a position against the ban put in place at McMaster University, said Loreta.
“On behalf of the Ryerson students’ union, we took a position at our board denouncing the ban on the phrase ‘Israeli Apartheid,’ she said. She added that it is outrageous for the administration to call an outright ban on a phrase.
“The question of whether or not Israeli is an apartheid state should be debated. You know, everyone has their own position on that, but the idea that the university and the students’ union can impose a ban using two words together is outrageous and that’s a total attack on students’ ability to organize and students’ ability to call into question human rights abuses internationally.”
Loreta said Islamophobia has become quite alarming over the past couple of years at McMaster, and that there has been a number of extremely serious incidents that have occurred there.
“For example [...] I believe one faculty member [...] wore a hijab to support Muslim sisters who do wear hijabs and her door was defaced,” she said.
In reaction to the ban, student unions at Ryerson University, York University and the University of Toronto organized bus rides to McMaster Feb. 29 for students wanting to take part in a public forum and rally to protest the decision.