Category Advocacy

On 8 December 2021, the Anti-Semitism Working Group released their Final Report, which can be found here. The Report included eight Recommendations, and summarized versions are listed below.

If you have any feedback/concerns about the Report or about anti-semitism on-campus please fill out this survey.

Recommendations 1 & 2

Recommendations 1 & 2 of the Report of the University of Toronto Anti-Semitism Working Group (“the Report”) seek to ensure that antisemitism falls under the perview of the existing offices which deal with racism, discrimination, and exclusion. They state that the University should consider antisemitism as on-par with other forms of racism and religious discrimination, apply its policies accordingly, and establish a targeted framework for addressing it.

Recommendation 3

It has often been suggested that the University adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism; however, Recommendation 3 of the Report cautions against this on the basis that the definition (and others like it) are not appropriate for a University context as it was meant to be used as a tool for measurement and not regulation. The Report also takes an intrinsic issue with regulating speech, in particular stating that “the University’s distinctive position in society precludes adoption of any definition as a basis for banning the expression of controversial, troubling, or offensive views.”

Recommendations 4 & 5

Recommendations 4 & 5 have to do with academic freedom and free speech. Universities are inherently spaces in which alternative modes of thinking and challenges to the status quo are introduced, which have immense capacity for social/political change. In order to protect this capacity, the Report cautions against attempts to regulate individuals’ views on controversial topics or place content-based restrictions on events. In particular, the Report states that an individual taking an unpopular stance on a topic (or choosing not to take a stance at all) “must not lead to any form of sanction or exclusion from other aspects of the intellectual and cultural life of the University.”

Recommendation 6

Recommendation 6 encourages the University to develop some framework with which “social exclusion, harassment, micro-aggressions and bullying (including online instances of these)” can be addressed. Though this is not specific to antisemitism, the Anti-Semitism Working Group notes that many participants in their review process reported concerns about these issues. They also noted that many of the incidents described to them involved social media and online posts.

Recommendations 7 & 8

Recommendations 7 & 8 involve access to academic accommodations and kosher food. Under current policy, both should be available to Jewish members of the University community; however, the Anti-Semitism Working Group found that these policies were not applied consistently. Thus, the Report recommends that the University fix issues in this regard.