A timely intervention
An email from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, Glyn Davis, was sent to all students on Thursday afternoon. It's a damning indictment on those whose words and actions made it necessary to send it:
Subject: Say 'no' to vilification
Date: Thu, August 10, 2006 4:18 pm
Universities offer a forum for vigorous debate, including discussion of unpopular opinions.
In Australia, as in the rest of the world, we are experiencing the effects of deeply troubled times in the Middle East.
At this testing moment, students and staff of the University of Melbourne must feel secure in advancing or defending their views of the world.
But equally we must respect long-established practices about the conduct of scholarly debate, however impassioned. Members of the University community have a responsibility to appreciate that people on all sides have sincerely and deeply held views.
They are entitled to express those views without suffering abuse or intimidation. Present circumstances in the Middle East are no excuse for anti-Semitism or racist behaviour. Such vilification has no place on our campus.
10 August 2006