Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Profs in the Park Controversy moved to Gallery

By Peter Mills
Regina Leader-Post
June 14, 2011

Emily Eaton finally delivered her “Profs in the City lecture about Palestine at the Neutral Ground Gallery in front of a packed house in Regina June 14, 2011.
Photograph by: Bryan Schlosser, Regina Leader-Post

Emily Eaton can finally breath a sigh of relief.

On Tuesday afternoon, Eaton presented a public lecture titled, Solidarity with Palestine: The Case for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel, which kicked off the Profs in the City lecture series.

The lecture garnered significant controversy in the past week after Eaton was told by the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District to either change her lecture topic or it would be cancelled.

Instead, the University of Regina professors involved ended the Profs in the Park series and relocated from Victoria Park to the Neutral Ground Contemporary Art Forum.

“I’ll continue to speak about these issues but I need a little bit of time to myself,” she said laughing. “I’d like to get back to some writing projects that I have this summer.”

Approximately 50 people attended Eaton’s lecture.

Only one person in attendance passionately voiced opposition to the topic. Unfortunately, the man was told “enough” by several people in attendance after he talked for more than three minutes.

Despite the controversy, Eaton has only heard positive feedback.

“I’ve had personal emails from people all around the country that say they support my right to free speech.,” she said. “Anytime somebody tries to talk about Palestine, there are all sorts of things that are mobilized to try and shut it down. So it’s important that we get out and talk about it.”

Ashley Hooker came to the lecture because of the topic and the publicity it received.

“I’m quite offended that after a few complaints they would censor this incredibly important discourse,” she said.

Aness Sabi said he attended the event to defend freedom of speech.

“We are trying to listen and talk about what is going on around the world,” he said. “I ask the city council to correct this because it’s going to allow other communities to say, ‘I don’t like this topic.’ If you censor one voice, others will do the same. This is unacceptable in any democracy.”

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