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Concordia University bans two people from campus after investigation into violent clashes

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Concordia University has banned two non-students from its campus following a violent altercation involving pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian supporters.

Concordia's president and vice-chancellor, Graham Carr, wrote in a letter to students on Wednesday that the two individuals from outside the university community are being banned "following our investigations into last week's events."

"Investigations into other possible violations of our Code of Rights and Responsibilities by individuals both internal and external to the university community are ongoing," Carr wrote without providing further details.

Montreal police were called to the university on Nov. 8 as clashes between the two groups escalated, resulting in at least two security guards and one student being injured.

A 22-year-old student was arrested for assaulting a 54-year-old security guard, police said. The police intervention lasted nearly three hours.

Following the clashes, Concordia condemned the violence on campus.

Wednesday, the head of the university appealed for calm because "a line has been crossed in our city and on our campus," and "there's no place for hatred or violence in our midst."

"We are less than three weeks from the end of fall classes. I strongly believe we need a cooling off period to allow us all to focus on academic success. This is the reason why we are all here and why I ask you, our community, to devote our energies to that outcome and to exercise our duty to act responsibly and respectfully in our actions and our words," Carr wrote.

Since the altercation, he said he expects to meet with student groups and union leaders this week to open a dialogue and discuss how to ease tensions on campus.

He said he also plans to gather a group of Concordia experts on mediation and conflict resolution "to provide advice on appropriate next steps."

"As I've said previously, universities are privileged spaces for teaching, learning and research, where the respectful and free exchange of ideas is at the core of our mission," he wrote. "However, to be successful in our mission, at a minimum, all members of our community — whether they are Jewish, Palestinian or otherwise part of the rich mosaic of Concordia's culture — must feel safe: to express their views, to display their identity, to be heard, and — appalling as it is to even have to write this — to be safe from physical violence."

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