On the recommendation
of Rector Frederick Lowy, Concordias Board of Governors has agreed
to allow the return of information tables for all campus groups on the
mezzanine of the Henry F. Hall Building, except for those related to the
Israeli-Palestinian issue. The lobby of the Hall Building will continue
to remain free of information tables.
The vote, taken at a special meeting of the Board on Monday, was unanimous.
Members of the Board recognized the steps that have been taken to lower
the level of tension on campus, and expressed confidence that in the near
future, gradual easing of the restrictions on Middle East debate will
The closed session was a continuation of the discussion from the regular
Board meeting held Oct. 16, at which the members were shocked by media
images and security footage of the Sept. 9 incident, in which hundreds
of demonstrators succeeded in preventing a speech in the Hall Building
by former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The tape, shown by Vice-Rector Michael Di Grappa in the context of a security
report to the Board, clearly showed the demonstrators breaking the windows,
smashing through the barriers on the mezzanine and emptying a fire extinguisher
and hurling furniture at police.
It also showed that police used pepper spray only after the demonstrators
smashed the window and began hurling objects through the broken glass.
The clouds that filled the Hall Building lobby were from the fire extinguisher
and pepper spray sucked back into the lobby, not tear gas, as some reports
After viewing the tapes on Oct. 16, several Board members feared that
a premature loosening of the cooling-off period could lead to more violence.
After long discussion, the Board tabled resolutions to moderate the emergency
However, at their special meeting on Oct. 21, the Board resolved to encourage
discussion between the administration and the student leadership on the
Dr. Lowy, with the co-operation of the Concordia Student Union (CSU),
has encouraged the principal groups involved in the Middle East debate
to open a dialogue. The CSU, Hillel and Solidarity for Palestinian Human
Rights (SPHR) have agreed to adhere to the principles of mutual respect,
and to avoid racist or ethnic stereotyping.
Initiatives are being developed with them and the CSU to organize events
that would clarify Middle East issues. This may include a fact-finding
visit by selected students to the region.
The Board has also resolved to look at revising the Code of Rights and
Responsibilities. Pending the report of a review committee, the exceptional
disciplinary powers given to the administration by the Board will remain
in effect. Concordia Security continues to examine the tapes of the event
to identify those responsible for the violence, and the university will
take action under the existing Code.
Dr. Lowy told the Board on Oct. 16 that although no formal charges have
yet been laid, the police have informed him that five non-students will
soon be charged with acts ranging from assault to vandalism and illegal
assembly. They will receive letters from Concordia banning them from campus
and from enrolling at the university for five years.
Nine Concordia students have been identified as having participated in
breaking through the barriers on the mezzanine, and will face sanctions
under the Code. In addition, the police are investigating several complaints
that may lead to additional charges.