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Canadian Association of University Teachers Condemns York University

Canadian Association of University Teachers Condemns York University

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Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) condemns President Mamdouh Shoukri of York University for sanctioning SAIA and banning a York alumnus.
Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) condemns President Mamdouh Shoukri of York University for sanctioning SAIA and banning a York alumnus.

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02/18/2014

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September 9, 2013Dr. Mamdouh ShoukriOffice of the President1050 Kaneff Tower York University4700 Keele StreetToronto, OntarioM3J 1P3Dear President Shoukri:We are writing on behalf of the Canadian Association of University Teachers to call on you toreverse the decisions taken in April/May of this year to revoke the status of Students AgainstIsraeli Apartheid (SAIA) as an official campus group and to ban York University alumniHammam Farah from your campus. Both decisions raise grave concern about your administration’s commitment to freedom of expression – a freedom vital if universities are tofulfill their obligations in society.We fear there is a pattern emerging at York of sacrificing expressive freedom. We have long hadconcerns about your 2005 “Senate Policy on Disruptive and/or Harassing Behaviour inAcademic Situations”, which, with the most laudable intentions, has vague and ill-definedobligations and provisions that can threaten the kind of expressive environment that should be permitted in a university.Likewise York’s “Code of Student Rights & Responsibilities” attempts to institutionalize vaguestandards of civility that can threaten the freedoms that are central to the university mission.Civility and courtesy are desirable, but York’s Code introduces more dangers than benefits.York’s “Temporary Use of University Space” policy and its associated procedures give theUniversity administration broad powers to limit and restrict expressive freedom on campus.Again, we are not questioning the need for such a policy but are concerned about the breadth andlack of specificity of this particular version.The mission of the university can only be sustained if it vigorously defends freedom of expression and is widely tolerant of difficult discussions and debates – often impossible to beheld elsewhere in society. Your actions regarding SAIA and Farah, as well as the wording of …/2

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