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Trespass notice issued to encampment members at University of Waterloo

The University of Waterloo says it has issued a legal trespass notice to members of Occupy UWaterloo, who set up an encampment on campus in mid-May as a protest.

The encampment, which started on May 13, is located on a grassy area beside the Grad House. The group says they want the university to divest of any company that supports Israel in the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

“This notice means that members of the encampment must leave the Grad House Green immediately and must not return the encampment to university property,” the university said in a statement sent to CBC News by director of media relations Rebecca Elming.

“The university has protected everyone’s right to free speech and expression throughout this protest activity. This has included myriad disruptive protest actions on campus since November 2023. However, the behaviour of encampment members is becoming untenable,” the statement said.

The university says the group has violated the school’s list of prohibited activities and policies and “is causing greater disruption to the normal business of the university.”

‘No more business as usual’

The move comes after members of the Occupy UWaterloo group went into an administration building this week and stopped a board of governors meeting. That included protesters chanting in the building and staging a sit-in outside the room where the meeting was being held.

“There will be no more business as usual,” the group said in an Instagram post.

The group alleged the university was trying to intimidate them using police, emails and “a dozen surveillance cameras.”

“We will not stop. We will remain steadfast and committed to our cause and the people of Palestine,” the group’s post said.

Two pieces of paper with writing on it taped to an umbrella post. Someone has written over it in red: "I ain't reading all that. Free Palestine."
On May 23, the university taped copies of its formal notice to end the encampment on light posts and umbrella stands near the area around where the encampment has been set up. (Aastha Shetty/CBC)

The university issued a formal notice to the encampment members on May 23, telling them to end the protest.

The school also said it added security measures to its convocation ceremonies last week, including that guests needed tickets to attend the ceremonies and bags were checked on the way in.

Earlier this month, encampment members said they got a win in their fight with the school after the university agreed to be more transparent regarding the names of the companies it invests in, both directly and through pooled funds.

Nick Joseph, spokesperson for Occupy UWaterloo, said at the time it was clear to them the “university is undoubtedly pressured by what we’re doing.”

While encampments at other universities have ended, including at McMaster University in Hamilton, others continue on, despite pushback by administration.

The University of Toronto is currently in the midst of seeking a court injunction to clear an encampment while McGill University in Montreal has said it will no longer negotiate with protesters, that academic amnesty is off the table and the school is also planning disciplinary action.

This article is from from (CBC NEWS CANADA)

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