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Will pro-Palestinian encampments impact convocations at UW, WLU and U of G?

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Convocation ceremonies are just days away and some soon-to-be graduates may be wondering how they’ll be impacted by the encampments on campus.

Tents were set up at the University of Waterloo on May 13. Occupy University of Waterloo (Occupy UW) wants the school to divest from any groups that support Israel’s alleged genocide and they also want the university to demand an immediately ceasefire in Gaza.

The university formally asked the occupants to leave on May 22, citing six policy infractions since the encampment was set up on campus. They included: trespass violations, installing banners and barricades without permission or inspection, and limiting other’s ability to use the space.

Meanwhile, another encampment was set up at the University of Guelph on May 21. The group “U of G for Palestine” said they’ve been waiting since January for information on that school’s endowment portfolio.

The fire chief told CTV News on June 4 that the university could be fined up to $20,000 per day for failing to ensure the encampment wasn’t obstructing an evacuation pathway from the nearby Zavitz Hall. However, no fines have been handed out so far.

We asked the University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Guelph about how they’re preparing for convocation amid the demonstrations.

University of Waterloo

At the University of Waterloo, convocation ceremonies will take place between June 11 and June 15.

They said those events will not be disrupted or impacted by the encampments.

In an email to CTV News, the school said: “Convocation is the culmination of our students’ hard work and dedication and is a special time for our community. In addition to the regular security measures undertaken every year, the university will also be requiring tickets for graduates and their guests as well as inspecting bags and personal items in the Physical Activities Complex (PAC) facility to ensure secure and smooth ceremonies during Convocation Week.”

University of Guelph

Convocation ceremonies at the University of Guelph will also happen between June 11 and June 14.

The school sent CTV News the following statement: “Convocation organizers are working to help ensure all convocations proceed successfully and safely. We understand how important convocation is to the student experience and we remain focused on making this event a meaningful and respectful celebration for all our graduands.”

They went on to say that further details will be shared with students over the next month.

“All event attendees and graduands will receive increased communication about expectations for respectful behaviour at convocation. Additional measures are being put in place to support event logistics and help prevent significant disruptions.”

Wilfrid Laurier University

Wilfrid Laurier University, unlike UW and the U of G, doesn’t currently have a student encampment on campus.

As such, the school is not anticipating any disruptions.

“Convocation is an exciting time to celebrate our Wilfrid Laurier University graduates’ hard work,” they said in an email. “As with any major event, Laurier prepares plans for any emergency or unforeseen circumstance, convocation is no different.”

Convocation at the Brantford campus was held on June 4. Ceremonies at the Waterloo campus are set for June 10 through to June 14.

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