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Hundreds march in support of pro-Palestinian protestors at University of Waterloo

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As pro-Palestinian protestors at University of Toronto plan to meet with administration, protestors at University of Waterloo joined together to voice their concerns.

On Saturday, hundreds marched across the UW campus in support of the encampment and their demands.

"This was organized by the students," said Nicholas Joseph, speaking on behalf of the Occupy UW group. "People have been looking for ways to pressure the institutions because we're not here for fun.

"The students came together, people showed up, and the community showed up."

The Occupy UW group first set up their encampment on May 13 as part of a massive wave of pro-Palestinian demonstrations at post-secondary institutions in Canada and the United States.

"We have three demands," said Joseph. "Our first demand is complete disclosure of all investments. I don't care if they're investing in the local grocery store.

"We want divestment from all institutions complicit in the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza. We don't think our university and tuition dollars should be going to support this. And thirdly, we want a formal academic and cultural boycott of all institutions associated with Israel."

Earlier in the week, the university issued a notice letter for protestors to leave, citing six policy infractions that have occurred since the encampment was set up: alleged trespass violations, installing banners and barricades without permission or inspection, and limiting other’s ability to use the space.

"We're uninterested in these alleged infractions," said Joseph. "We think it's an intimidation tactic. The students are remaining steadfast and we will not leave until our demands are met."

UW ADMINISTRATION AND ENCAMPMENT DISCUSSIONS

Joseph says representatives from the school have been by the encampment for inspections, but when asked about talking with the administration regarding their demands, they've refused.

"We are open to meeting with them," said Joseph. "We are open to discussing our demands. They are refusing to.

"To be perfectly clear: it is only on the admin's part that this dialogue is not happening."

In a statement provided by a University of Waterloo spokesperson on Sunday, they say, "the university has been regularly engaging with the group who have established an encampment and intends to remain in dialogue with them."

Earlier in the week, Joseph commented on an email sent by administration to students and faculty. He says it falsely claimed the school has engaged in dialogue with the encampment.

"Regarding the demands this group is making, the university has already committed to considering the issues raised regarding investments at both the Finance & Investment committee and the Pension Investment committee of the Board of Governors," the statement from University of Waterloo continues. "Both committees are already working to look again at reporting on investments and the ESG factors that fund managers consider. An update will be provided at the June meeting of Waterloo’s Board of Governors.

"Waterloo will also consult on and develop guidelines on institutional partnerships. This work will be informed by the outcomes of the Taskforce on Free Expression which is set to report in the coming months and the new institutional values, to be considered by the Board in June."

With reporting from CTV Toronto and CTV Kitchener's Ashley Bacon

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