Déjà vu at York U: Don’t look now, but Toronto’s York University has morphed into a German campus circa Der Fuhrer—or a Gaza campus circa today. I just received the following desperate plea via e-mail:As far as i can tell, the video is not yet on the web. Background on this story here.To Whom It May Concern:
As students at York University Keele Campus we would like to urgently bring to your attention several appalling incidents, which took place today, February 11th 2009 on our campus.
After an attempted media conference, regarding a successful campaign of “Drop YFS”, a racial riot broke out deeming the members of “Drop YFS” racist. “Drop YFS” is a student led group with students from different backgrounds, faiths and beliefs. In addition, the Jewish students involved in “Drop YFS” belong to Hasbara at York, Hillel at York, and other Jewish groups on campus.
“Drop YFS” is a student run initiative to have the executive members of YFS (the undergraduate student government) held accountable for their inactivity during the strike. The media conference was put in place to thank the students for their 5000 signatures, and to congratulate the students for their success.
The conference was interrupted by mobs of people who broke into chants, racial slurs, and anti-Semitic threats. Students fearing for their lives at York University had to be protected and escorted out of the room by Toronto Police - as they were trapped inside this room unable to leave, afraid. The entire Jewish population of York is intimidated, and no longer feels secure on campus. The Jewish members of “Drop YFS” were solely targeted today for their religion and their political views.
There is video footage of this taking place, and we are more than willing to answer any of your questions. Please contact us:
Please forward this to as many people you can – the community at large must become aware that Jews on campus no longer feel safe regardless of their political views.
Enraged mobs of Jew-haters hurling threats and racial slurs? Where are our politicians? Where are the media? Where’s the Canadian Jewish Congress?
Where’s Barbara Hall?
We previously reported on Queen's University's own speech enforcers here Today comes the welcome news that Queen's is dropping the crazy idea. But in true Canadian slackademic fashion, the Americans are to blame for the crazy idea in the first place!
Calling it "incompatible with the atmosphere required for free speech," Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., on Wednesday scrapped its controversial "dialogue facilitator" program.It's time we all stood up as Canadians and let York University officials know that theirs has become a pariah institution and that it is completely unacceptable that they have become a place for antisemitic riots. From my own experience of York, I blame not only the left-Islamist student alliance, in support of CUPE teachers and their union's official antisemitism, but also the ideologies promoted by many of the senior non-CUPE faculty.(HTs: Blazing Cat Fur)
It caused a scandal last year when it was revealed the six student "facilitators" were mandated to intervene in private conversations to encourage discussion of social justice issues and discourage offensive language.
In a report to the administration, a panel of experts expressed "strong reservations about unsolicited interventions into the lives of students" because of the risk of "making students feel unsafe or under surveillance because of their opinions."
The panel included Leora Jackson, the school's rector, John Meisel, an emeritus professor of political science, and Keith Norton, the former head of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. They had "serious concerns" with how the program was set up.
The panel faulted Dean of Student Affairs Jason Laker for importing an American model of diversity promotion, from the National Coalition Building Institute, while failing to research any comparable programs at Canadian universities.
UPDATE: Here is a first-hand account of the York incident and here is the B'nai Brith press release (via email):
‘Pandemonium at York University reflects dangerous trend
of anti-Jewish agitation on campuses,’ says B’nai Brith Canada –
B’nai Brith delegation to visit York campus this afternoon
TORONTO, February 12, 2009 – B’nai Brith Canada has expressed deep concern over disturbances yesterday at York University, with reports of Jewish students fearing for their safety and being escorted off campus by police. Turmoil erupted following a press conference by some students to announce that they had successfully garnered 5,000 signatures on a petition demanding the recall of York Federation Student leaders. Amidst the pandemonium, Jewish students were pushed and shoved, antisemitic slurs were shouted, leaving Jewish students to seek refuge in a locked room away from the frantic mob.
“We are disturbed and appalled by reports of Jewish students fearing for their safety and being scared to be identified as Jews on campus,” said Frank Dimant, B’nai Brith Canada’s Executive Vice President. “Just last week we met with York University student leaders who communicated incident after incident of deliberate intimidation of Jewish students, and marginalization and isolation on campus.
“We have requested an urgent meeting with York University’s administration to ensure that immediate measures be put in place to restore order and safety to campus life.
“We have already been in communication with police and demanded that the safety and security of Jewish students at York University and other campuses be dealt with as a matter of top priority.
“A senior delegation of B’nai Brith Canada officials will be on campus this afternoon to witness first hand a day in the life of a Jewish student on the frontlines against antisemitism, anti-Zionist and radical forces that care nothing about democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
UPDATE 2: Video showing the aftermath of the riot (with police escorting students out of the Hillel centre while the mob chants) are here.