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Josh Morry


Earl Barish

 
LETTER SENT BY JOSH MORRY AND FOURTY STUDENTS TO DAVID BARNARD AND LETTER FROM B'NAI BRITH TO BARNARD RE:IAW

posted April 8, 2014

[Editor's note: Below is the complete text of a letter sent by Josh Morry and 40 students to President of the University of Manitoba David Barnard, and following that is the complete text of  a letter sent to President Barnard from  Earl Barish, Chairman of the Board, B'nai Brith  ] 

 

University of Manitoba

 

Attention; President David Barnard

 

Dear Sir

 

Re: Providing space for Coalition Against Israel Apartheid

 

                It has come to our attention that the University of Manitoba has provided space in University Centre to an off campus advocacy group called CAIA that is hosting Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW). As Jewish and non-Jewish members of the Jewish Students Association at the U of M and U of W, we are very concerned and disappointed with the University’s decision. UMSU, a student union of our elected representatives, made a determination last year that Students Against Israel Apartheid (SAIA) and IAW undermine our dignity and self-esteem, contravening UMSU Policy 2009. UMSU made this decision after hearing evidence that we are scared to go into University Centre during IAW, and that we feel unsafe with such a group spouting hatred on campus. It is simply not safe to be labelled a racist and apartheid supporter on campus, as students at Concordia and York University have found out the hard way. Following UMSU’s decision to ban SAIA and IAW, members of the anti-Israel community proceeded to post Holocaust jokes on the UMSU Facebook page. Some of these people are members of CAIA.

 

The University has the policies in place to protect its students. “Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy 2.4 is word for word the same as Policy 2009. The policy states that the University does not condone any behaviour that is “likely” to undermine the dignity or self-esteem of students. UMSU’s determination under policy 2009 means that it is now “likely” that our rights under policy 2.4 are violated as well. Regardless of whether the administration agrees with the result, the University has an obligation to uphold its policies.

 

We are students paying to attend university, and we have the right to a safe learning environment free from groups that undermine our dignity and self-esteem. It is shocking to us that the University of Manitoba is prepared to disregard its own policies and jump through hoops to allow an off campus advocacy group to poison the atmosphere of the University at the expense of its students. We can’t help but ask ourselves why our University is colluding with those who hurt us.

 

As University students we believe in the importance of discussing issues like the Arab-Israeli conflict. Having said that, we recognize that freedom of expression, like all freedoms protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms can be limited when it is justified to do so. Policy 2.4 and Policy 2009 are designed to protect students from groups that cross the line from freedom of expression into harassment.

 

An off campus advocacy group has no place undermining the dignity and self-esteem of students at the University of Manitoba, and we ask that you come to the right decision. Our goal is simply to learn in a safe environment, please respect us by enforcing your policies.

 

Respectfully,

Josh Morry

[and 40 others]

 

 

 

March 24, 2014

President David T. Barnard
Office of the President
202 Administration Building
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2
Fax: 204-261-1318
[email protected]

Dear President Barnard



It has come to our attention that the University of Manitoba has allowed
an off-site group going by the name of Coalition Against Israel Apartheid
(CAIA) to hold an anti-Israel hatefest on campus this week( Israeli
Apartheid Week -- IAW). You have been informed as we understand that this
group includes students from the student group Students Against Israel
Apartheid (SAIA ) banned by the student union UMSU. Clearly the two groups
share a common name as well as purpose.

Last year the student union UMSU took a careful look at the nature of the
programs and messaging of SAIA on campus and voted to ban the group from
campus based on its policy #2009 -- Harassment and Discrimination.

Despite this, university administrators have apparently chosen to ignore the democratic voice of its own student body in allowing CAIA to use its space for IAW activities. We are informed that events this past week on campus have continued the discriminatory and harrassing behavior that was the source of complaint leading to the revocation of SAIA's on-campus. In fact, a highly inflammatory poster was distributed on campus which shows SAIA as the coordinating body.

As we have heard directly from students, the use of university space in
this manner furthers the poisoned environment on campus for them and stands
in direct contravention of university policies on such controversial events,
including the University's own governing policy regardning "Respectful Work
and Learning Environment (2.4)" wherein there is a commitment to "support a
climate of respect in the workplace and in the learning environment
where individuals or groups of individuals are free from harassment
and
discrimination". This is identical in all material respects to the USMU policy under which SAIA was banned.

This is unacceptable to the students and the broader community that
support your fine institution. By allowing CAIA access to campus, you
have effectively allowed an outside group to undermine the dignity of
your students and community. Furthermore, you have allowed students
to circumvent university governing principles.

We ask you to reverse your decision to grant CAIA access to campus so
to ensure that the rights of all students and community members are
fully protected under your established policies and other human right
principles.


Yours truly,
Earl Barish, Chairman of the Board


cc VP and Provost Joanne Keselman
cc Frank Dimant, CEO B'nai Brith Canada

 

 

 
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