Saturday, August 01, 2009

Today's academic question

Would Carleton faculty be as quick to support Hassan Diab's right to teach if he had been charged with killing four people in an abortion clinic bombing or the dynamiting of a mosque instead of a synagogue attack? I don't know if Diab is guilty, and there seems to, on the surface, be an argument for mistaken identity. This will be sorted out by the courts in Canada and, quite likely, France. I think, in times when universities bend over backwards to ensure Muslims, gays, people of colour, women and handicapped people are not made uncomfortable by faculty opinions, having an alleged synagogue bomber teaching Jewish students might be a bit, um, discomforting for them.
Let the courts sort this out before Diab is allowed back to Carleton (and to U of Ottawa). Meanwhile, Carleton faculty should not hide behind seniority rules to justify having Diab in the classroom. The issues go much farther than that. If Diab wants to quickly clear his name and get back into the classroom, court is the place to do it. Canadian authorities should try to move this case forward and see if the French really do have a case.

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