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University security gave prior warning: Rector

by Archives September 18, 2002

University security warned the Concordia administration they would not be able to provide former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu with adequate protection if he were to speak at the Hall Building, Rector Frederick Lowy said at a university senate meeting.

The statement was made Sept. 13, the day after he had stated at an open panel discussion concerning the violent events of Sept. 9 that no warning had been issued.

Lowy went on to say university security officials had recommended the event be held at the hockey arena at the Loyola Campus.

When contacted for comment, Director of University Security Jean Brisebois said he could not make a statement, referring the Concordian instead to university public relations.

According to Chris Mota, the university’s public relations officer, no written report has been published on security’s decision. All information had been transmitted verbally to Vice Rector Services Michael Di Grappa, who then passed on the information to Rector Lowy.

According to Lowy, the administration approached Hillel Concordia, the student group sponsoring the event and asked whether they felt comfortable holding the event at the more secluded Loyola Campus. Hillel decided against it, wanting to hold the event in a more central location.

“Having Mr. Netanyahu speak at Loyola would not have served our audience,” said Hillel Co-President Noah Joseph. “We needed to have it in a central location.”

When it was made clear that university security could not provide the needed the security, said Lowy, the university approached the Montreal Urban Community
Police Department (MUCPD) in August. The MUCPD then formulated a plan to protect the former Israeli prime minister. What happened afterwards, said Lowy, was up to the police.

“They [the Montreal police] have been criticized in the media. The police, in a sense, were not able to keep the Hall Building secure,” Lowy said after the senate meeting, re-iterating that no one could have known how violent the protest would become.

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