Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights-Concordia has been banned, without explanation or consultation, by the administration, specifically by President Claude Lajeunesse, from using the Samuel Bronfman Building at Concordia University, to host an upcoming event, Israeli Apartheid Week 2006.
SPHR booked and received a confirmation to hold Apartheid Week at the Samuel Bronfman building about two weeks ago. All other venues with similar capacity (100-200 people), were booked, and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR — the organizing group) was left with the Bronfman as the only respectable venue suitable for the speakers we will be hosting (Mr. Toufic Haddad, Dr. Ismail Zayid and Dr. Uri Davis).
After receiving the confirmation for the bookings, SPHR began to publicize
the event. On Tuesday night, only 6 days before the start of our event, SPHR
received an email from Mr. Jacques Lachance stating that: “Samuel Bronfman
Building is not a satisfactory and suitable option,” providing no reason or
explanation for why the room is not a suitable option.
“This decision by the Concordia administration to refuse SPHR, an
organization under the umbrella of the CSU, the right to use a space that has already been booked and confirmed, without any consultation or explanation is a clearact of discrimination, and a violation of our freedom of speech and our right to organize,” says Tania Tabar of SPHR.
“This action contradicts the values of democracy and freedom of _expression
that should be upheld in a university environment. SPHR refuses to accept this act of censorship, and discrimination based on our political beliefs by Mr.
Lajeunesse. We expect that the Concordia administration treat SPHR as it
would any other student organization. It is yet another example of the silencing of anti-apartheid voices on Canadian campuses.”
Israeli Apartheid Week was organized for the first time by the Arab Students’
Collective at the University of Toronto making headlines internationally.
This year the event will be held simultaneously across various campuses in
Toronto,Montreal, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Oxford (UK) from February 13th and 18th.
Concordia University’s decision to cancel the room bookings has angered many students and members of the Montreal community, who stand behind SPHR and their right to freedom of speech on campus.