The Board of Governors (BoG) has lifted the ban on tabling on the Mezzanine, but it will continue to be prohibited in the lobby of the Hall Building.
The moratorium on public events concerning Middle East issues will remain however, as will the rector’s emergency expulsion powers.
The BoG meeting held early Monday morning lasted several hours and was closed to the public.
Originally, the topic was to be discussed at the BoG meeting on Oct. 16, but the issue was tabled when members realized they would not be able to come to a decision.
The emergency meeting was hastily called in hopes of finally easing tensions on campus, as well as a response to mounting criticism – some against the restrictions on certain types of activities on campus, others pressuring the administration to do more – from outside the university.
It was another attempt to deal with the aftermath of the violent Sept. 9 protests that forced the cancellation of a speech by former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the BoG’s decision to impose the moratorium and ban on tabling in certain areas of the Hall Building.
Student governor and CSU councillor Chae Dickie-Clark said it seemed as though the proposals to lift the ban on tabling in the Mezzanine and lobby were going to pass at the Oct. 16 meeting before a video of the protests was shown. The 12-minute-long video shocked governors and led them to shy away from making a decision, Dickie-Clarke added.
As the meeting was closed, the voting results were not made available. Members are not permitted to make comment or disclose what happened during the meeting.
According to Rector Lowy, who saw only one of three of his motions pass, the BoG voted to retain the moratorium because the majority felt discussions should continue internally until Dec. 15, the review date proposed in the original motion.
He also stressed that discussion concerning the events of Sept. 9 will continue, possibly incorporating other student groups. He did not specify which ones.
Although he proposed the motion, Lowy made it clear he will not pressure the BoG on the issue of tabling in the lobby. “It is not my intention that the lobby be reopened,” he told reporters.
While the rector seemed willing to accept the BoG’s decision and stressed this means more internal negotiations are necessary, CSU President and governor Sabine Friesinger viewed the issue differently.
“This is absolutely the wrong way to go about [fixing the problems on campus],” Friesinger said. “They’re [members of BoG] not listening to students […] they’re saying ‘This is how we want to move forward’? It’s absurd.”
The CSU said it will continue to push for the ban to be lifted, but it will hold back on directly challenging it for now. A table that had been set up by the CSU in the lobby early Monday was quickly removed after the meeting ended.
“We felt that right now, right after the decision, it’s not the best timing. We acted out of a show of good will,” said Friesinger.
For Friesinger and others at the CSU, the news that the moratorium would stick was disappointing in light of ongoing discussions between the CSU, the administration, Hillel and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), which they say have narrowed the rifts that appeared after Sept. 9.
All four groups have been meeting for over a month to organize a joint Hillel/SPHR event. Now it seems that the event may not take place until after the Dec. 15 BoG meeting at the earliest.
Also passed at the meeting was a motion to review Concordia’s Code of Rights and Responsibilities, which until recently governed all matters regarding expulsion and suspension of students. At the rector’s request on Sept. 18 however, the BoG granted him the power to unilaterally expel students. Normally, students would be judged in front of a jury of members of the university community.
Lowy was unsure what issues the review would address, but stated there is a strong possibility it will focus on the rector’s new powers in relation to the existing code.
– Additional reporting by Colin Bateman