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Playing the blame game

by Archives November 13, 2002

A meeting of the university senate erupted into a heated debate over whether students or the administration should take responsibility for the violence that broke out on Sept 9., when protests halted a scheduled speech by former Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a question and answer period that extended well beyond its allotted time, student senators Youri Cormier and Ralph Lee insisted that both the students who committed violent acts and the administration should be held accountable for events that Rector Lowy said, “Put the university in a position of ridicule.”

Lowy denied that the administration should take responsibility for the events as it was simply responding to a request from a student group when it invited Netanyahu to speak.

He added the administration’s perspective will be elaborated upon in a report that is being prepared for the next senate meeting on Nov. 29.

“There was a recognition that there might be a protest,” Lowy said, “But we did not anticipate that there would be an attempt, physically, to prevent Netanyahu from speaking.”

The administration’s decision to slap a ban on tabling in the Hall Building lobby, a moratorium on public events related to the Middle East conflict and to give the rector “emergency” powers were called into question by Cormier, senator and CSU councillor Adam Slater and senator Rob Maguire.

Slater and Cormier asked Lowy to explain why he chose not to follow the senate’s recommendation that he rescind his emergency powers, which include the right to unilaterally expel students without due process as per regular university protocol. Lowy responded that he had reported the senate’s recommendations to the Board of Governors, a committee he chairs and they sided with him to retain his powers.

Maguire said the university is complicit in the criminal charges brought against four students for their role in the events on Sept. 9 after he learned the administration had given Montreal Police videotapes from the school’s stationary cameras.

Police charged students independently: Di Grappa

Including the four that face the additional criminal charges, a total of 11 students and one former student have been charged with various offences under Concordia’s Code of Rights and Responsibilities.

Vice-Rector Services Michael Di Grappa maintained although there were meetings between the administration and the police, the police brought charges against the students independently of the administration.

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