Torch Voices: Barry Mehler

Letter to the Editor

I was deeply disappointed by the Torch front page story, “Pair who pied Levin charged.” Kantar and Mohsen have been charged and are awaiting trial, not an “upcoming sentence.” They are innocent until proven guilty. The question is are they guilty of felony assault serious enough to send them to prison.

I know Max Kantar very well. He graduated Cum Laude in 2009 and is the finest student I have ever taught. That both he and Ahlam were originally held on a quarter of a million dollar bond was beyond outrageous. Many politicians have been on the receiving end of a pie, not least the Prime Minister of Canada in 2006. No one has ever died or even been hospitalized or even needed a band aid after taking a pie in the face. Yes, it is rude, intentionally so. It is a political protest beyond the bounds of propriety, but it is not a felony assault.

Elie Wesel, the Nobel Prize winning author is famous for his claim that the persecution of the Jews was only possible because no one protested. You will note that Mohsen’s bond was $50,000 and Kantar’s $10,000 – both completely outrageous considering that murders often are released on lesser bonds and the risk that these two will harm anyone or flee is minimal. The complacency of this community in the face of these outrageous charges disturbs me greatly.

Barry Mehler, Director

Institute for the Study of Academic Racism