Concordia Hillel students continue to demand that the Concordia Student Union (CSU) unconditionally rescind last week's resolution banning Hillel from campus. Hillel is also asking that the CSU provide a letter of apology for anguish and hurt. Hillel has prepared legal action against the CSU.
Last Monday night, eight members of the 27 members of the Council of Representatives of the CSU moved to suspend Concordia Hillel in response to a flier that Hillel allegedly distributed at an information table providing information on a volunteer program with the Israel Defense Forces. Although the chair of the CSU ruled the motion Out of Order, the nine council members present at the meeting overturned that decision, and the motion passed 8 to 1.
The CSU banned Concordia Hillel and froze its CSU allocation until Hillel apologizes for the flyer or the Concordia University administration overrules the CSU and reinstates Hillel. The Concordia administration refused to get involved, citing Quebec law that grants CSU status similar to an independent labor union.
A statement released by Concordia University said, "The CSU has asserted on many occasions that, as a result of its accreditation [as a labor union], it is illegal for the university to intervene in CSU business. Therefore, it is particularly offensive to request the university overturn CSU Council decisions on an invitation-only basis when it is to the advantage of the CSU ... We cannot absolve them of their responsibility and legal duty to conduct their affairs in a fair, equitable and non-partisan manner."
A lawyer engaged by Hillel delivered a formal legal demand to the CSU outlining several procedural irregularities of the resolution last Thursday. The letter demanded that the decision be reversed by 5 p.m. on Monday, December 9. As of 11:45, December 10, the CSU had issued no formal response. Individuals from the CSU have unofficially stated that they will rescind the resolution if Hillel signs a letter admitting guilt. Hillel students have refused, stating that they have done nothing wrong.
Students and professionals at Concordia Hillel are meeting with lawyers today to discuss their next step in this battle.
The suspension of Concordia Hillel has provoked worldwide condemnation. Hillel President and International Director Richard M. Joel issued a statement denouncing the CSU action: "Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life condemns in the strongest terms the outrageous decision of the Concordia Student Union to exclude Hillel from campus and to deny it CSU funds. Hillel urges the CSU to rescind its decision. We support Montreal Hillel's efforts to pursue legal action against the CSU. We call upon the university to denounce this action which flies in the face of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association."
Those interested in showing solidarity with Concordia Hillel should write letters and call the CSU, the Dean of Students Dr. Boisvert, and Concordia Rector Frederick Lowy.
Rector Frederick Lowy, 514-848-4850, Frederick.Lowy@concordia.ca
Dean of Students Dr. Donald L. Boisvert, 514-848-3520, firstname.lastname@example.org
CSU Office, 514-848-7474, Fax: 514-848-7450
CSU President Sabine Fresinger, email@example.com
Please send a copy of all letters to firstname.lastname@example.org