apartheid-week-poster3The controversy of Carleton and UofO banning Israeli Apartheid Week posters has culminated in a protest planned for this Thursday (Feb. 26) including both campuses. Here’s the info courtesy of OPIRG Carleton:

On Thursday February 26th, join OPIRG-Carleton and students at U of O to show your support for SAIA and SPHR. Come to a public discussion and TWO RALLIES (one after the other) to call the Administrations at Carleton and the U of O to account by asking them to clarify why and how these posters were banned. Show these administrations that civil discourse is dependent upon rights to free expression and organizing, especially around contentious issues.

Date: Thursday February 26th 2009

Time: 11:30 – 1:00pm.

The regular shuttle service leaves Carleton at 1:30pm after the Carleton rally will and arrive at the U of O at 1:50pm. People will gather at the shuttle drop-off location (across from Montpetit) to begin the rally at the U of O. The rally at the U of O will begin in front of the shuttle bus-stop at 2:00pm.

Meeting location at Carleton: C264 Loeb Building

Meeting location at U of O: shuttle bus-stop (across from Monpetit)

Event Description: The rally at Carleton will be mostly silent. People are invited to symbolically cover their mouths. The rally at the University of Ottawa will not be silent. If you have letters (from groups, unions, organizations or individuals) you would like to deliver to the university administrations about the banning of the Israeli Apartheid poster please bring them with you. Both rallies will end at the presidents’ offices.

Defend the Right to Organize on Campus! Call on the Carleton University and University of Ottawa Administrations to uphold free expression and follow clear and transparent procedures.

On February 8th, Students Against Israeli Apartheid at Carleton University put up 100 posters for “Israeli Apartheid Week”, a series of lectures and public events that will occur on campuses in over 40 cities around the world. On February 9, these posters were taken down and banned from campus under the order of Carleton’s Equity Services. Their rationale was that the posters “could be seen to incite others to infringe rights protected in the Ontario Human Rights code” and are “insensitive to the norms of civil discourse in a free and democratic society”.

On February 13th, Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR) at the U of O got the approval of the U of O Administration to put up the Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) poster. With the posters stamped, SPHR was ready to put them up at the end of reading week. However, on Feb. 20th, the U of O Communications office sent the following message to SPHR U of O:

A poster from the campus group Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights has recently come to the attention of the Communications Office. All posters approved by the Communications Office must promote a campus culture where all members of the community can play a part in a declaration of human rights recognizing the inherent dignity and equal rights of all students. Consequently, we will not place this particular poster on our campus billboards.”

The poster was created by cartoonist Carlos Latuff and depicts a situation – a child being killed by aerial bombardment – that occurred over 430 times in Israel’s latest attack on Gaza according to United Nations reports.

Since it depicts a situation that has a factual basis and its intention is clearly to invite people to a lecture series, the notion that it is an incitement or a violation to norms of civil discourse is preposterous.

On Thursday February 26th, join OPIRG-Carleton and students at U of O to show your support for SAIA and SPHR. Come to a public discussion and TWO RALLIES (one after the other) to call the Administrations at Carleton and the U of O to account by asking them to clarify why and how these posters were banned. Show these administrations that civil discourse is dependent upon rights to free expression and organizing, especially around contentious issues.


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