Protesters at U of T encampment ordered to leave by 8 a.m. Monday

Pro-Palestinian protestors who have set up an encampment on the University of Toronto campus have been issued trespassing notices. As Jazan Grewal reports, demonstrators are not planning to leave despite a deadline to clear the occupation.

Pro-Palestinian protestors who have set up an encampment on the University of Toronto campus were given trespassing notices on Friday and have been ordered to vacate the area by Monday morning at 8 a.m.

The encampment began on May 2 at King’s College Circle on the university’s St. George Campus with protestors calling on the university to divest from Israeli companies and terminate partnerships with some Israeli academic institutions.

On Thursday, the school gave the protesters 24 hours to consider their offer to end the on-going demonstration. When the deadline passed without an agreement, the notices were issued.

“On Thursday, May 23, 2024, the University of Toronto made a full and fair offer to the encampment participants,” U of T said in a release.

“That offer was not accepted by the deadline set out. As a result, we are delivering the enclosed Notice of Trespass. Occupying Front Campus at King’s College Circle has been and remains unauthorized by the University.

“If the encampment participants do not vacate Front Campus at King’s College Circle by Monday, May 27, 2024 at 8 a.m., the University will be taking all necessary legal steps including seeking an Order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.”

People convicted under the Trespass to Property Act could face a fine of not more than $10,000. Students may be also subject to disciplinary action under the Code of Student Conduct, the school noted.

Earlier Friday, student organizers of the demonstration called the school’s offer of a resolution an “ultimatum.”

“This document is a farce,” U of T student organizer Kalliopé Anvar McCall said, holding up a copy of the proposal.

“This document is nothing but a summary of their already-existing procedures on divestment and disclosure with a few minor tweaks to bait us into thinking that we are getting a good deal out of this.”

“This is not an offer,” she added. “This is an ultimatum. They are trying to force us to accept these outrageous terms by threatening to clear us out at the same time.”

The university’s offer, which was contingent on the clearing of the encampment, included inviting students to present their demands to U of T’s business board of governing council at a summer meeting, and forming a working group to consider options for the disclosure of the school’s investments.

But the university made it clear that despite protestor’s demands, it won’t end any partnerships with Israeli universities.

In a statement to CityNews on Friday a U of T spokesperson added: “The University rejects the idea that divestment must be urgent and skip over the due process … They say the scale of U Of T investments is not great enough to have any impact on what is happening presently in Gaza, divestment would be more of a symbolic action.”

Meanwhile some of the protesters said Friday they were in the midst of a hunger strike.

Fred Beausoleil, a graduate student and incoming PHD student, is one of them.

“A group of students have begun an indefinite hunger strike,” he said. “We will continue until the university stops aligning itself with war criminals.”

“We won’t eat until U of T’s defeat.”

With files from The Canadian Press

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