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To speak: perchance to be expelled—ay, there's the rub!
[Daniel] Freeman-Maloy’s banishment must be seen as an abuse of power by a university president more interested in pandering to Toronto’s Jewish community than in upholding academic freedom and intellectual honesty.
Now is the winter of discontent for one glorious student at the University of York. The cloud of intellectual and political conformity that hangs o’er the campus has unleashed its fury upon the head of Daniel Freeman-Maloy. Because of what? Words. Words. Words.
To hear university president Lorna Marsden tell it, Freeman-Maloy twice disrupted classes this year by leading two protests and using a megaphone—what she generically called “an unauthorized sound amplification device.” The second one, on March 16, marked the anniversary of the murder of Rachel Corrie.
For his rabble-rousing, the third-year political science student has been denied the right to re-register for three years, effectively denying him the right to finish his degree. Not only that, he is banned from campus under penalty of trespass, which means he cannot even find work as a research assistant.
Marsden cited as her authority Section 13.2 (c) of the York University Act 1965, which grants the president power “to formulate and implement regulations governing the conduct of students and student activities,” but this is hogwash. However much of a nuisance Freeman-Maloy may have been, three years’ banishment is gratuitously punitive, and contrary to established procedures in which students have a right to appeal disciplinary decisions. That right is set down in the New Students Handbook.*
Presidential involvement in a complaint, after which there is no appeal, is only the last stage after all appeals have been exhausted. Freeman-Maloy never had the chance to make his case. Moreover, Marsden as president had no arbitrary right to ban Freeman-Maloy from campus. That decision can only be made by the Provost, according to Section F of the Handbook, and then only for reasons of security and order. Freeman-Maloy’s expulsion came only after Marsden found out that Professor David Noble had hired him to assist with a research project. Security risk? Disruptive influence?
The only way to make sense of this absurd scenario is to look into the political motives driving it. You see, Freeman-Maloy is a righteous Jew who proudly and publicly champions Palestinian human rights.† As such, he is an embarrassment to zionist lobby groups and Marsden, whose pro-Israel bias is shamefully conspicuous. Freeman-Maloy’s banishment must be seen as an abuse of power by a university president more interested in pandering to Toronto’s Jewish community than in upholding academic freedom and intellectual honesty.
In September 2003, Freeman-Maloy condemned as “racist” Marsden’s introduction of the odious Israeli diaspora Minister Natan Sharansky, as “a symbol of the struggle for human rights.” Obviously, Marsden is unaware that Sharansky is primarily responsible for promoting the theft of Arab land for Jewish “settlers.”
Marsden’s zionist credentials really shone when she overruled the management of York’s Student Centre and allowed U.S. anti-Muslim zealot Daniel Pipes to deliver a lecture “Barriers to Peace in the Middle East.” The centre refused to hold the event because of security concerns, which, given the animosity between zionist and Palestinian groups, was understandable.
Pipes is notorious for his bigoted rants about Arabs and his apologetics for Israeli terror. He is also responsible for engendering neo-McCarthyite intimidation on university and college campuses through his website campus-watch, which targets professors and students who do not hew to the officially prescribed zionist line.
Marsden overruled the centre, not out of a highly place sense of academic duty or principle, but after she was prodded by Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress. “She was concerned for the security of the students and the university itself, but, I believe, was very committed to ensuring that the talk went on and was looking for a way to bring that about.”§
After Marsden approved Pipes’s lecture, over the objections of the Middle Eastern Student Association, zionist organizations chanted the mantra of how this was a victory for free speech, and how it’s important for all sides of an argument to be heard, yadda, yadda. These same groups, of course, opposed the entry of a Saudi Arabian speaker on the grounds he was “anti-Semitic.”
At York, free speech for zionist speakers and free-speech for anti-zionist speakers is not the same thing, which brings me back to the subject of student security. Marsden overruled the concerns of the student centre on this issue, but here’s what chief media flak Nancy White had to say:
“Was three years too much? We made a judgment call. Our message is we will continue to take actions of this kind to ensure the academic functioning of the university and security of our students.”**
There you have it—Freeman-Maloy is a greater security threat than Pipes! How did the Jewish community at-large react to his three-year sentence? B’nai Brith Canada, which is always good for a rant, said virtually nothing. It labeled Freeman-Maloy as a “pro-Palestinian Jew” (thereby denying him legitimacy in zionist eyes) and ran a perfunctory blurb that contained not a single word of condemnation. It didn’t mention that Marsden’s conduct violated York’s established disciplinary procedures and denied him the right to appeal.
Freeman-Maloy’s banishment has also earned Marsden universal condemnation from within academia. York’s political science faculty, the York University Faculty Association, and the National Canadian Association of University Teachers have all demanded Freeman-Maloy be reinstated. The York Senate has even asked Marsden to rescind her decision.††
Despite the condemnation, Marsden is stonewalling and her office is refusing to return media calls. It’s fitting that this issue should involve the Middle East, though. Gross abuse of authority, hypocrisy, and disregard for legitimate criticism are all hallmarks of Israel.
As we know, Israel ought to be expelled from the UN, especially since it has repeatedly violated its terms of admission, but the servile U.S. won’t let that happen. The good news for students at York is that Marsden can be removed under Section 13.1 of the Act, which states that the president serves at the pleasure of the Board of Governors.
No matter how irritating or vocal Freeman-Maloy may have been, the magnitude of his banishment is indefensible. “Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves,” said Abraham Lincoln. In this spirit, Freeman-Maloy must be readmitted, or else the university should replace the “o” of York with the Star of David.
* New Students Handbook
† See my May 27 article “Righteous Jews--Israel’s uncomfortable voices of dissent.”
§ Frances Kraft, “Pipes to speak at York despite earlier veto,” Canadian Jewish Times, Jan. 30, 2003.
•• NOW Magazine online, VOL. 23 NO. 37, May 13–19, 2004, cited at (www.rabble.ca/babble/ultimatebb.php?ubb=get_topic&f=5&t=001203)
†† See Professor David F. Noble, “Prof calls for York president to be replaced,” (www.uwatch.ca/?postid=32)
by courtesy & © 2004 Greg Felton
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