SPHR: Urgent Call for Solidarity with SPHR – University of Ottawa

The University of Ottawa Administration had threatened to cancel our Thursday event booking on campus, due to “an incident”.
 
But thanks to the immediate support that we’ve received, the University of Ottawa has re-confirmed the room reservation for the lecture event on Thursday, March 8th. As such, the panel discussion, entitled “Legalized Apartheid and Women’s Resistance in Palestine: Principled Solidarity and the Global Struggle for Liberation” will proceed as planned at 7:00pm that evening. 

However, the University has imposed the presence of agents from the Protection Services as a condition for the event to take place, after evaluating a complaint by unknown persons regarding our event on March 5th (“Arab Spring, Apartheid Falls? The Egyptian Uprising and Possibilities for Palestinian Resistance”). While we will not be contesting this decision at this point, it is our belief that such a security presence is unnecessary and does not contribute to a safe and open environment for our guests and speakers. Furthermore, despite repeated demands, we have received almost no information on the details and exact nature of the aforementioned complaint, leaving us entirely in the dark as to the reasons why a previously confirmed lecture event was precipitously placed in jeopardy only two days before it was due to take place.

We encourage you to demand more transparency from the University of Ottawa’s administration through the release of information about the complaint, as well as information as to how it was evaluated by the administration and how the latter motivated the decisions it took in consequence. It is both unacceptable and highly suspect that the University of Ottawa has taken such arbitrary action without any due explanation. 

Please refer to the detailed and updated call-out: 

****URGENT CALL FOR SOLIDARITY. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!****

Call on the University of Ottawa Administration to follow clear and transparent procedures. 

On March 5th, Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) 2012 open at the University of Ottawa to a packed room, as students, faculty, and community members were treated to an informative lecture entitled “Arab Spring, Apartheid Falls? The Egyptian Uprising and Possibilities for Palestinian Resistance.”It featured an Egyptian activist who played an important role in the revolution that overthrew the Egyptian dictatorship, as well as a community activist from Montreal (for full schedule, see:http://ottawa.apartheidweek.org/).

Moreover, two students from the organizing committee were harassed by unidentified individuals. Students from SPHR and SAIA felt unsafe by the intimidation which occurred just outside the lecture hall during the event.

On March 6th , a member of Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) received an email from Conventions and Reservations Services at the University of Ottawa telling her that their room booking for Thursday’s Keynote IAW event is now “on hold”, that SPHR “may not continue with this event for now”, and that SPHR’s contract was being forwarded to “Protection Service for evaluation.” These heavy-handed measures are because of an unnamed “incident” that supposedly occurred at Monday’s event. Even though this event has been re-confirmed, the very fact that the organizers were put in a situation where their event was threaten to be cancelled is a form of intimidation from the University of Ottawa administration.

In 2009, the Administrations at the University of Ottawa and Carleton University banned the international-used IAW poster, gaining national and international headlines. SPHR and Students Against Israeli Apartheid (SAIA) Carleton see today’s email as another attempt to silence the voices of students who advocate for Palestinian human rights. When the IAW poster was banned in 2009, we stood up and fought back with all of your support.

Let us take a stand again. We need your help in two ways:

1) Please write a letter to the University of Ottawa Administration demanding transparency through the release of information about the complaint, as well as information as to how it was evaluated by the administration and how the latter motivated the decisions it took in consequence. It is both unacceptable and highly suspect that the University of Ottawa has taken such arbitrary action without any due explanation.

president@uottawa.ca - Allan Rock – President, University of Ottawa, and;

mbgeron@uottawa.ca - Martin Bergeron, Coordination Agent – Conventions and Reservations Services

Or call :

Allan Rock – President, University of Ottawa – Telephone: 613-562-5809

Martin Bergeron, Coordination Agent – Conventions and Reservations Services

Bureau / Office : (613) 562-5800 ext: 2825 Cellulaire / Cell : (613) 796-8099

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