February 12, 2009

Dear Mr. Hamdullahpur:

I am writing to ascertain the exact meaning of your recent communication to the students of Carleton. I find it very difficult to decipher messages with an abundance of abstract language. Is the emotional and controversial event(s) that you are referring to the upcoming Israeli Apartheid Week of March 1-8? Does your email explicitly mention the potential ramifications of inappropriate behaviour in an attempt to preempt controversial dialogue? I was recently informed that the organizers of Israeli Apartheid Week were not allowed to put posters up on campus. I have seen the poster and think it is within the realm of reason. Was this poster declined due to pressure from other groups on campus?

In particular, what does this passage mean?

“Discrimination, harassment, and intolerance which take the form of inappropriately challenging or questioning a person’s race or beliefs are actions that are contrary to the mission of Carleton University and put in peril the essence of the Canadian university experience.”

Am I to believe that I am not permitted to challenge another person’s beliefs? What is classified as ‘inappropriate?’

If possible, I would like to meet in person to further discuss these issues.

Dax D’Orazio
Public Affairs Student

February 15, 2009

Dear Dax:

The purpose of my communiqué was to remind everybody the need for respectful and tolerant debate at the university. This was in light of complaints we had received from some students and student groups.

Because these complaints were delivered to the university’s Equity Office in confidence, I am not able to disclose the details or nature of these complaints. However, we are investigating them all as far as we can.

Universities in free and democratic societies like Canada often reflect diverse views of these issues. Carleton University is certainly committed to ensuring that issues are debated freely in a safe and mutually respectful way.

Thank you for raising your concern with me.

Best wishes.

Feridun Hamdullahpur
Provost and Vice President Academic (Interim)
Carleton University