UJA Federation of Greater Toronto is supporting Hillel and other Jewish student organizations to change the inaction of the York University administration in the wake of a dangerous incident on February 11. An anti-Israel mob besieged Jewish students in the Hillel lounge, banging on the windows, shouting anti-Semitic slurs and making it very difficult for students to leave. Toronto police eventually escorted students out of the lounge to a chorus of additional jeers. Hundreds of people including parents of York students and prospective students, alumni, university donors and concerned community members have expressed their concern and their outrage.
Although York President Mamdouh Shoukri has acknowledged, in general terms, an “unacceptable state of affairs” that involves “a barrage of disruption, hostility and even intimidation,” he has not specifically addressed the ugly events of February 11 and their impact on Jewish students. Instead, the university has meted out fines and sanctions to Jewish groups and some anti-Israel organizations that organized rallies in Vari Hall the next day.
UJA Federation, in conjunction with Hillel of Greater Toronto, CIJA, Canadian Jewish Congress, Hasbara Fellowships and the Canadian Centre for Israel Activism is backing its stand that disciplinary measures be taken by the university against mob members and that student security needs to be enhanced through the following initiatives:
- Close cooperation with Toronto police
- Training sessions for Jewish students
- Public support by elected representatives for our position
- Legal challenges to fines imposed on Jewish student organizations
- Public information meetings about the situation
- Discussions with York University donors
- Ongoing mobilization for community members to contact York administration officials.
Heres what we are specifically seeking:
- University disciplinary measures against those who participated in the February 11 mob behaviour. The university should waive a requirement that affected students must first file a formal complaint. York is significantly behind in processing complaints and has video evidence available of what occurred on February 11.
- Acknowledgement by President Shoukri of the gravity of the threats made specifically against Jewish students.
- Announcement of new measures to ensure the safety and security of Jewish students and others on campus.
Please contact the York officials listed below, in order to demonstrate the depth of community concern and press our points.
Mamdouh Shoukri, President
Robert Tiffin, Vice-President Students
Gary Brewer, Vice-President Finance & administration
Harriet Lewis, University Secretary & General Counsel
Richard Fisher, Chief Marketing Officer
Sylvia Schippke Assistant Vice President Student Community Development
If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Howard English,