I just completed an interview with University of Regina Geography professor Emily Eaton for an article we have planned for our June 16 issue. As has been reported on this blog, Eaton had been scheduled to deliver a talk called Solidarity With Palestine: The Case for Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel as part of a summer-long Profs in the Park lecture series that the Faculty of Arts had organized in partnership with Regina Downtown Business Improvement District.
When concerns were expressed to RDBID about the subject of Eaton’s talk by members of city administration including, apparently, councillor Michael Fougere, who sits on the RDBID board, the downtown business group decided to cancel Eaton’s talk. In protest at this infringement on academic freedom and free speech, the other professors who had agreed to participate in the series withdrew their services.
Instead of being held in Victoria Park, Eaton will now present her talk at Neutral Ground Artist-Run Centre (1822 Scarth St., on the second floor) at noon on Tuesday June 14. As has been observed on this blog, Victoria Park is a public space, and had organizers wished, they would have been entirely within their rights to hold the talk in the park whether city administration and RDBID were on-board or not. But holding it at Neutral Ground will give people who attend a chance to check out an interesting show called Holding Our Breath by Saskatoon artist Adrian Stimson who visited Afghanistan in the spring of 2010 as part of the War Artist program run by the Canadian military.
Hopefully, they’ll be a good turnout. And look for more coverage on this story in the days to come.