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Five Liberal MPs,including Ben Carr write letter to Canadian university presidents asking whether a call for genocide against the Jewish people, or the elimination of the State of Israel, violates your university’s code of conduct?

Dec 14, 2023

The followng letter, signed by five Liberal Members of Parliaament, was sent to the presidents of 25 Canadian universities: Ottawa, Ontario December 13, 2023

Attention: Antisemitism on university campuses

To the Presidents of University of British Columbia, University of Victoria, University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Saskatchewan, University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, University of Toronto, York University, University of Ottawa, University of Western Ontario, University of Waterloo, Queen’s University, McMaster University, University of Guelph, Toronto Metropolitan University, Carleton University, McGill University, Concordia University, University of Montreal, University of Sherbrooke, University of Quebec at Montreal, Laval University, Dalhousie University and Memorial University:

Recently in testimony before the US Congress, the Presidents of the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard and MIT embarrassed themselves and their institutions by being unable to confirm that the call for the genocide against the Jewish people would violate their university’s code of conduct. They instead advised the Committee that it depended on “context”. We do not believe that any context is necessary to confirm that the call to eradicate an identifiable group constitutes harassment, intimidation and incites hatred, and merits the strongest disciplinary measures available to a university.

On October 7, Israel was attacked by the terrorist group Hamas. Unfortunately the worst attack against Jews since the Holocaust has been followed by a dramatic escalation of antisemitism across the globe. Antisemitism was already the most common form of religious hate in Canada, even though the Jewish community only constitutes just over 1% of the population. Since October 7, we have seen gunshots fired at Jewish schools, fire bombings at Jewish institutions, threats of boycott against Jewish owned businesses and reports across the country of Jewish students feeling unsafe on their campuses. This has been accompanied by a lack of action by university leadership to protect Jewish students.

We have heard from students who say they are being harassed by fellow students, are being subjected to hostile environments in some classrooms and are being forced to walk through protesters on campus who are calling for the elimination of the world’s only majority Jewish state. We have heard from students who are at universities where the student association and other groups funded and recognized by the university are hostile environments for Jewish students, and where student newspapers are refusing to run articles from contributors that support Israel. We have seen studentinitiated referendums that create hostile environments for Jewish or proIsrael students on campus.

Whereas a university campus should be a safe sanctuary, we hear instead from Jewish students whoare afraid to go to campus or certain classes. This is entirely unacceptable. We are asking you to respond to us in writing no later than January 20, 2024 with responses to the following questions, which we intend to table with a Committee of the House of Commons:

• Is a call for genocide against the Jewish people, or the elimination of the State of Israel, a violation of your university’s code of conduct?

• What additional steps have you taken to protect Jewish students on your campus since October 7?

• Will you commit to review your existing code of conduct to ensure that proper policies are in place to deal with antisemitism on campus?

• Will you commit to ensure that student associations, school newspapers and groups recognized by the university have proper measures in place to prevent them from becoming hostile environments for your Jewish students? • Will you be taking steps to also ensure that your Jewish faculty members and staff feel safe on campus?

Please send your responses to [email protected] and if you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out.

Sincerely yours,

Anthony Housefather Member of Parliament for Mount Royal

David Lametti Member of Parliament for LaSalle—Émard—Verdun

Ben Carr Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre

Marco Mendicino Member of Parliament for Eglinton—Lawrence

Anna Gainey Member of Parliament for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount

 
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