OTTAWA — Carleton University says it had no involvement in a conference last weekend on campus, co-sponsored by the Iranian embassy, that celebrated the legacy of the late Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The event was organized by the Iranian Culture Association of Carleton University and the Cultural Centre of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which operates from Iran’s Metcalfe Street embassy.
The two-hour conference, held to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of Khomeini’s death, featured speakers who put a positive spin on the spiritual leader’s record. A report by Macleans, which characterized the conference as a pro-Iranian propaganda event, prompted a spate of dismayed and incredulous postings on Twitter.
In a statement Thursday afternoon, the university noted that student groups held many events every year on campus, sometimes on controversial subjects.
“The views expressed by speakers at this event in no way reflect the views of the university as a whole. There are more than 160 student groups and societies registered at Carleton,” the university statement said. “And Carleton, like all other Canadian universities, encourages a culture of debate and free expression.”
Spokesman Steven Reid said the university would intervene if an event on campus was promoting hate, illegal acts or violations of the Human Rights Code. “Beyond that, we don’t step in and quash things.