President Shoukri announces an independent review of academic conference

President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri has issued this message to the York community:

The recently completed Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace conference has stimulated a useful dialogue about the need to protect academic freedom and clarify the principles underlying that freedom. Universities are obliged to support academic debate on the pressing issues of the day; they are also obliged to ensure the respectful exchange of ideas based on research.

We will hold other conferences that deal with controversial issues, but we now enjoy the opportunity to reflect on our experience and identify useful lessons for the future. Accordingly, I have asked Frank Iacobucci, a respected former judge of the Supreme Court of Canada and former university provost and president, to: 

  • review the experience with the planning, organizing and delivery of the “Mapping” conference;
  • advise on the responsibilities of faculty members and University administrators in relation to conferences of this type, particularly conferences sponsored by the University;
  • and to provide advice on best practices for the successful planning and execution of such events in light of York University policies and procedures pertaining to academic conferences.

Mr. Iacobucci’s review will be guided by the principles and commitment to academic freedom set forth in my two public statements on the conference in May and June. I have instructed all administrative units to cooperate with Mr. Iacobucci in his review, and I invite other members of the community to communicate their suggestions and recommendations directly with him by e-mail at I have asked Mr. Iacobucci to report back to me with his recommendations by Nov. 30. His report will be made public.