U of T gives encampment 24 hours to consider latest offer

U of T gives encampment 24 hours to consider latest offer
U of T gives encampment 24 hours to consider latest offer

اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الخميس 23 مايو 2024 04:51 مساءً

The University of Toronto says students involved in a pro-Palestinian encampment have 24 hours to consider its latest offer, which was made public on Thursday.

In a statement that outlines details of the offer, U of T President Meric Gertler says the university will not end partnerships with Israeli universities — something the demonstrators had been asking for — because it is committed to academic freedom.

"The encampment must end," Gertler says in the update.

"Our approach remains guided by our effort to balance our shared values, people's foundational rights and freedoms, and a desire for a peaceful resolution. We hope that the representatives will accept our offer. Should an agreement not be reached, the university will take further action."

In a news conference on Thursday afternoon, Gertler said the university will issue a trespass notice if the students do not accept the offer and he hopes they will obey the law.

"We are still in ongoing dialogue with the students. We remain committed to a peaceful resolution and hope that the students will accept our offer," he said speaking to reporters.

"Should an agreement not be reached, we will issue a notice of trespass and pursue any subsequent legal steps," he added.

"We have made it very clear that they have 24 hours to consider our offer but we are happy to continue talking."

Encampment has been ongoing since May 2

Dozens of students, staff and faculty have been occupying a green space at King's College Circle on the university's St. George Campus in downtown Toronto around the clock since May 2. They've set up tents and canopies in solidarity with other encampments at universities throughout North America, calling for an end to Israel's war in Gaza.

The demonstrators' three official demands include disclosing the university endowment's investments, divesting from companies that "sustain Israeli apartheid, occupation and illegal settlement of Palestine," and cutting ties with Israeli academic institutions that operate in the occupied territories or support Israel's military efforts.

Gertler, for his part, said the students are invited to present their demands to the university's business board of governing council's meeting on June 19

In the statement, he said the university "will engage in — and expedite, where possible — a review of the divestment request under the terms and process of the university's policy on social and political issues with respect to university divestment."

As for disclosure of investments, he said the university will strike an expert working group to consider options for disclosure and increased transparency about the university's investments. He said that working group will make recommendations to the president.

Gertler said convocation begins on June 3 and the university is determined for the ceremony to proceed as planned.

"We will proceed with convocation no matter what," he said.

When asked if the university is considering calling the police to clear the encampment, Gertler said the school has not ruled out any options.

"We are pursuing all legal options available to us," he said. "We are hopeful that the people inside the encampment will abide by the law, including our trespass order."



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