Some at U of R not keen on partnerships with schools in Israel
The crisis in Gaza has some students and faculty at the University of Regina raising concerns about the school's potential ties to universities in Israel.
On Wednesday a number of people met to speak out against a potential arrangement that could see U of R graduate students learn about public safety management at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
"We wish that the U of R will consider our opinions [and] our statements as evidence against a partnership," Malek Daoud told CBC News Wednesday. The Palestinian student is studying petroleum engineering.
In Daoud's opinion, the U of R should not have students in Israel because of what is happening in Gaza.
"Over 650 people have been killed," he said, adding that the deaths include women and children.
Media reports from the region have differed on the exact number of deaths but most of those killed are being noted as civilians.
The concerned students and faculty used Saskatchewan's Freedom of Information Act to obtain material that suggests the University of Regina has opened a dialogue with Hebrew University.
According to Andrew Stevens, a business professor at the U of R, Hebrew University has ties to the Israeli police and military.
"We can no longer simply stand idly by while partnerships are forged with institutions that have some complicity in this," Stevens said.
On Wednesday, the U of R released a letter that showed officials have been in touch with Hebrew University exploring opportunities for students to study abroad, but nothing had been decided.
Andrew Gaudes, the dean of the business school at the U of R, said there are no partnerships currently being pursued with Hebrew University.
"We're not looking at a partnership in Israel," Gaudes told CBC News Wednesday.
He added he understands how some are concerned about what is happening in the Middle East.
"I can sympathize with their concerns because everyone has passion and beliefs, and we respect all of them," he said.
The letter that was released, written by Gaudes in May, noted the university does not have a policy to avoid "conversations" with educational institutions in Israel.
"[W]e have had preliminary discussions about our students being able to take courses for credit at Hebrew University, however they are in the earliest stages of consideration," Gaudes said in his letter, addressed to people who had raised concerns about a partnership with Hebrew University.
Professor Stevens, meanwhile, said he believes the U of R should end the discussions.
"We need to back away from that possibility of an institutional partnership," he said.
With files from CBC's Adam Hunter