“As I looked at my degrees on the wall, it became clear to me that I was ashamed to be associated with a university that permitted something that was ideologically perverse, historically inaccurate, and clearly did not meet the minimum standards for taking place on a university campus.” So says Howard Rotberg, a lawyer, community worker, and U of T graduate who announced on his blog last week that he would be returning both of his degrees (in History and Law) to President David Naylor.

“I am giving back to the University of Toronto what they are 'gifting' to the Jewish State by allowing Israel Apartheid (sic) Week to take place - the university is allowing anti-Semitism by allowing the demonization, application of double-standards, and the delegitimization of the State of Israel,” he wrote.

 

Rotberg, an outspoken defender of the Israeli state, corresponded with the newspaper via email this week. He does not believe that freedom of speech in its absolute form should extend to the university grounds.

 

“The arguments by Naylor that the university is just permitting freedom of respect and diversity, are, at the least, disingenuous, and at any rate are too shallow and simplistic to be those of a representative of a great university,” he told the newspaper. “The university has no duty to host on its property, for pay or for free, every nonsensical organization on the face of the earth. There are other forums available for groups that do not meet the intellectual standard of the university.”

 

Rotberg maintains that he does not harbour any ill-will towards the current students of the university. “I hope you are not insulted by my actions; I hope you realize that I am motivated by a wish to preserve our liberal freedoms and to maintain U. of T's standing as a serious and outstanding university that gave so much to me in the 70s.”

 

The Office of the President was contacted, but did not respond by press time.

 

 

 

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