A small number of students rallied at Lakeshore campus last Tuesday against the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and the actions Humber took against a student who spoke out against the conflict by putting up stickers.
Participants, some waving Palestinian flags and the keffiyeh — the Palestinian scarf that is a symbol of resistance — joined at least one Israeli student who held up a sign in Yiddish during the rally by the stage in the middle of the campus cottage buildings.
Hani Alaf, a 24-year-old Syrian-Canadian postgraduate student, led the rally. Alaf said he was asked to leave his class on Nov. 2 after he placed about a dozen stickers around Humber’s Lakeshore campus featuring the Palestinian flag and the words “Boycott Israeli Apartheid.”
In a social media post on Instagram which was then reposted on Linkedin, Alaf wrote, “I was pulled out of class by a representative of public safety and accused me of things I have not done and bullied me out of campus.”
In the video, Alaf continues to talk about the Hamas-Israeli conflict. He mentions how he took the initiative to place the stickers on campus and was later accused of antisemitism and defacing property. Alaf said that he was pulled away from class by officer Thomas Urbaniak, an assistant manager for Humber’s security operations, and was asked to leave campus.
“If I am found on any premises of Humber I would be arrested,” Alaf said in the video.
Alaf said the public safety officer took a picture of his health card, the only form of ID he had on him at that time.
In an interview with Skedline, he said “[Humber] have completely misconstrued my actions, and thrown false accusations. They have accused me of vandalizing and desecrating the campus grounds.
“They took me out of class and kicked me out of campus. It clearly shows where Humber stands. I demand an apology and acknowledgement,” Alaf said.
An Israeli-Jewish student at the rally who said she is the grandchild of Holocaust survivors, held a sign that said in Yiddish “Never again for anyone,” urging the Canadian government to recognize the genocide and call for a ceasefire. Other students also joined in advocating for a ceasefire.
Humber’s Associate Director of Communications Emily Milic said in an email, “Humber College received complaints about stickers that had been placed around the Lakeshore Campus in contravention of Humber policy.
“The Department of Public Safety removed the stickers and addressed the student responsible during a class. The student was asked to leave the room for a conversation regarding the stickers and was asked to leave campus and wait to hear from the College. Later the same day, the student was informed that they could return to campus and to class.
“We have put temporary measures in place to ensure that this does not happen in the future and are conducting a review of our processes. These measures include an additional risk assessment threshold that must be met in order to have students addressed during a class.
Requests to post materials can be sent to the Department of Campus Services. Anything unauthorized that is posted will be removed, regardless of content.”
Humber has issued a statement on its website that says “The College apologizes for the response being disproportionate to the student’s actions. We have put temporary measures in place to ensure that this does not happen in the future and are conducting a review of our processes.”
By our press time, Alaf was not available for comment on Humber’s latest statement.