University of Toronto issues warning against campus encampments in response to protest scenes in Montreal and beyond

The Canadian Jewish News will be closed from the evening of April 28 to the evening of April 30 to celebrate the last two days of Passover. Look for more coverage on May 1 including future episodes of The CJN Daily podcast with Ellin Bessner.

Sandy Welsh, the vice-provost of the University of Toronto, issued a statement on April 28 to remind the public of the school’s “commitment to free expression and lawful and peaceful protest, as well as the necessary limits that accompany those freedoms.”

But she added that the lands and buildings at UofT are private property, and cited a student content code that prohibits unauthorized activities such as encampments or the occupation of campus buildings.

“Any student involved in unauthorized activities or conduct that contravenes University policies or the law may be subject to consequences,” stated Welsh.

The statement was issued the day after protesters at McGill University in Montreal set up an encampment similar to scenes on campuses across the U.S., most prominently at Columbia University in New York City.

Montreal protesters are demanding McGill and Concordia University “divest from funds implicated in the Zionist state as well as [cut] ties with Zionist academic institutions,” according to a statement sent to CBC News.

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather issued a video statement calling on the school and other authorities to dismantle the demonstration, out of concern for student safety:

Quebec’s higher-education minister Pascale Déry echoed these concerns:

Protest scenes at other universities were acknowledged by their administrations in subsequent days: