Saturday, June 11, 2011
|Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco|
Mayor Pat Fiacco
City of Regina
P.O. Box 1790
2476 Victoria Avenue
To His Worship Mayor Fiacco and Members of Regina City Council,
It has come to our attention that the University of Regina in conjunction with the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District (RDBID) co-sponsored a public lecture series entitled ‘Profs in the Park.’ We understand that shortly after the announcement of the schedule and topics of the lecture, U of R Geography Professor Emily Eaton, whose lecture was entitled ‘Solidarity with Palestine: The Case for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel,’ was informed through a representative of the RDBID that the topic of her lecture was under scrutiny and then that her lecture was cancelled. Given the RDBID’s position, Richard Kleer, the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, with the support Dr. Eaton’s colleagues who were to speak in the ‘Profs in the Park,’ withdrew their names from participation in the lecture in solidarity with Dr. Eaton and in defense of freedom of speech. Finally, we understand that the RDBIDs decision came after a request of one or more representatives of the City of Regina.
We are very disturbed by these developments and believe that the RDBID’s action at the behest of representatives of the City of Regina constitutes a violation of Dr. Emily Eaton’s protected rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and is an affront to academic freedom. As a result, we are requesting that Mayor Pat Fiacco and all members of Regina City Council, issue a joint statement in support of Dr. Eaton’s right to academic freedom and freedom of speech. Further, we ask that an investigation be undertaken to discover the source of the demands to censor Dr. Eaton, that those who conducted themselves in violation of Dr. Eaton’s Charter Rights have their names publicized and held accountable for their actions. Finally, we request that an official public apology be offered from both institutions to Dr. Eaton along with redress to her satisfaction.
We fully support the intention of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Regina along with the U of R’s Centre for Continuing Education decision to reschedule the lecture series with the unaltered inclusion of Dr. Eaton’s lecture ‘Solidarity with Palestine: The Case for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel.’ We further commit to defending academic freedom and the rights protected under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms now, and in the future.