Volume 93, Issue 85

Friday, March 10, 2000


NEWS

Don't bank on student loans

Faculty review gets top grades

ASA, MSA protest atrium celebration

Casinos a favourite for Canucks

McSorley opens NHL wounds

Increases make gas unsettling

Taking stock in the time that's left

Bass Ackwards

Caught on campus

ASA, MSA protest atrium celebration



By Paul-Mark Rendon
Gazette Staff

A silent protest involving three student groups on campus managed to stay civil yesterday, but did not go unnoticed.

Wearing signs which read "Israel=Injustice" and "What are you doing in Lebanon?," protesters from the Arab Students' Association and Muslim Students' Association circled around the booths and displays set up for Israel Day by the Jewish Students' Union.

Belal Tassi, a fourth-year engineering student and co-ordinator of the protest, explained the ASA decided to silently protest the event in light of alleged human rights violations by Israel against Palestinians in the highly disputed overseas territory.

"This is directly against the state of Israel and the policies they have, not against the JSU itself," Tassi said, adding several of the protesters had previously lived in Palestine, but were evicted from their homes by the Israeli government. "We believe the least we could do is let people know what's going on."

"This is not to harm anyone," said Khaled Irani, past president of the Arab Students' Association. "It's just to get a point across. We have no problem with [the celebration]. But when they celebrate their culture despite the political issues going on in their government – they're not doing the right thing," he said.

The purpose of the JSU's celebration was to promote Jewish culture and educate students about Israel. It featured food tasting and a dance exhibition by children from the London Community Hebrew Day School, said Josh Shuval, Israel Day co-ordinator for the JSU.

He said the JSU was aware of the protest, but decided to go ahead with the event. "Basically, we could not reach a compromise, but we're in a democracy and they deserve the right to peaceful protest," he said.

Perry Monaco, VP-campus issues for the University Students' Council, said he met with the ASA, MSA and JSU for the past week to try and reach a compromise, but to no avail.

"I tried to get them to avoid doing a protest. I thought with school children performing, a protest would not be appropriate," he said.

"I'm frustrated with the lack of respect that is being shown in general, with people not allowing people to do what they want. There are other avenues and other ways than disrupting an event," Monaco said.

USC services manager, Steve Allen, said event staff were monitoring the situation so they could intervene if it got out of hand.


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