To the Editor:
Supporters of human rights on campus were not surprised by the Clubs Policy Committee’s unfair and high-handed decision.
We are familiar with kangaroo courts and mock justice — courts endured by Palestinian human rights activists throughout Israel’s brutal and illegal occupation. Like those, this decision was predetermined: CPC chair Ryan Gilmour stated months ago that “the [Committee] will convene and make a decision regarding a sanction against SPHR.” At least they don’t lack tenacity: this is the fifth time a body has decided the matter.
The process this year only differs cosmetically from last year’s, which was dropped because of the ombudsperson’s finding that there were “countless procedural problems” within the CPC’s process. This time around, Gilmour and the University Students’ Council edited SPHR’s response, omitting some crucial points and thereby crippling the defence. In fact, SPHR was superfluous: virtually none of our response was commented on.
The decision changes the rules when it says “the mock wall . . . was sanctioned by the USC but was not reviewed by the CPC.” Neither SPHR nor any group has ever been subject to CPC review of displays; this rule was invented this past week. The almighty CPC is also overturning the USC (which twice approved the display), UWO Equity Services, London Police Hate Crimes Division, and the UWO President’s Office.
The mock wall was an effigy of the illegal apartheid wall snaking its way through the West Bank. The apologists of the Israeli government and its policies are trying to silence resistance against this atrocity much as pro-apartheid campus groups tried to silence the work of South African activists and their allies 15 years ago. Perhaps talking about human rights exposed the true fear shared by the colonialists of South Africa and the colonialists of Israel: tyranny never lasts.
UWO Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights
To the Editor:
How just it is that the Clubs Policy Committee has decided to reform its decision on SPHR’s mock wall of 2004, a full year after the event took place?
And how righteous of the CPC to insure that violators of clubs policies are sanctioned so as to protect the rights of students! Isn’t it wonderful that I can freely walk the trails of Western’s campus with the knowledge that the CPC will do anything to reprimand a group whom I feel has violated my personal rights?
Why then, after the Israel Action Committee flashed hate propaganda targeting Islam and Muslims in the faces of every passerby in the University Community Centre two years ago, must the plight of Muslims on campus remain ignored? How can I feel protected and secure when I remain a Muslim unheard? Am I too not entitled to feel hurt and insulted when I am wrongly accused of causing evil? If not, where are my rights as a student at UWO, a Canadian citizen, and above all, a human being? Am I not entitled to receive equal treatment from our student government?
I hope that our University Students’ Council is just as willing to apologize to an entire faith that has yet to receive any consolation for the damage done earlier.
And I’m quite glad that the CPC is willing to implement overdue sanctions — it’s about time it took action against the IAC, a group that should have been reprimanded two years ago.
To the Editor:
I have just read your article on the SPHR group being banned from the atrium and am wondering what happen to freedom of speech. It is a shame that expressing your opinion and standing up for what you believe in has lead to the banning of a group from public space. I guess if you want someone to shut up, you ban them from using any public domains.
As I understand it, nobody objected to the SPHR display until after other groups started protesting. I do not know whether the other groups that had caused some of the uproar over the display were punished or not. I was there that day and saw the wall — there was nothing malicious about it. The wall was factual and expressed what is going on there at this point in time.
I believe that it is hard enough trying to stand up for what you believe in, without the University Students’ Council, of all groups, trying to shut you up. This group was peacefully protesting human rights violations as they have seen them and were not out to create a hostile environment. If anything, when I was there during the display, other groups were yelling and screaming, causing the environment to be poisoned.
I am tired of living under this façade of freedom of speech where, when someone says anything controversial to stir up any sort of emotion, his or her mouth is quickly taped up. I will be surprised if this is even published in The Gazette due to its controversial nature.