Commission: Jews intimidated at York U.


TORONTO (JTA) — A Jewish communal commission says there has been "intimidation, harassment, ridicule and virulent anti-Israel sentiment" at one of Canada’s largest universities.

The commission on the quality of Jewish life at Toronto’s York University was organized last month and made up of officials from UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, Hillel of Greater Toronto, Hasbara at York and the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy.

Members gathered hundreds of testimonies from students, faculty and Jewish community members after recent events at the university "left many members of our community shocked and shaken," the final report said.

Recommendations include prohibiting professors from expressing personal political views unrelated to the course they teach. The panel also asks York to establish a confidential hotline for students to report "abuse of the podium" incidents.

The commission also recommends that York implement other measures, including providing security guards with "enhanced training in order to deal more effectively with disruptive events and individuals," and to "rigorously define the academic standards expected of all university-sponsored conferences."

The recommendations were submitted to the York University Task Force on Student Life, Learning and Community, created in March by the university’s president to improve the atmosphere on campus.

York University has been the scene of much anti-Jewish and anti-Israel activity over the past few years. Earlier this year, some Jewish students were barricaded in the Hillel lounge by a mob yelling anti-Semitic and anti-Israel slurs. Police had to be notified to escort the students out of the building. Two students were reprimanded for the incident.

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