Pro-Palestinian Protests at McMaster, U of T

Pro-Palestinian campus protests have expanded in Canada – and McMaster University in Hamilton is added to the list.

Protesters began setting up tents on the greenspace in the centre of campus yesterday afternoon.

They join protesters at similar encampments at the University of Toronto, the University of Ottawa, McGill University of Montreal, and the University of British Columbia Vancouver Campus, among others.

A statement from McMaster University says the encampment is peaceful and university activities are continuing as usual, including classes.

“The university’s role is not to constrain free thought, censor the views and positions some choose to take, or adopt the position of one group over another,” said President David Farrar.

The University says it met with students over the weekend to continue conversations that have been ongoing since October. Those discussions with various student groups, the statement reads, allowed more than 30 peaceful protests and events to be held at McMaster.

“We have always had constructive relationships with our student groups which has allowed us to discuss even the most difficult issues,” said Provost Susan Tighe. “Despite our willingness to continue exploring the topics the group has raised, it is disappointing that instead they have chosen to establish the encampment.”

“The safety and security of anyone who participates is very concerning.”

Campus is a shared space and ensuring it remains a safe and welcoming place for everyone is important. McMaster’s campus safety team is closely monitoring the situation and sharing information on the fire and safety risks of encampments and the rights and responsibilities for Freedom of Expression at McMaster.

“Now that the encampment has begun, our attention will need to focus on maintaining the health and safety of those participating and to ensure people at the university can continue with their work, studies and use of the campus in an atmosphere of respect,” said Sean Van Koughnett, dean of students.

 

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