Palestine solidarity encampment ongoing at U of M

Communities demand universities sever ties to Israel, U of W encampment disbands

Students and community members at the University of Manitoba Fort Garry campus, led by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), established an encampment on the quad on May 7.

The campus encampment is one of dozens which have been established around the world in recent months. Many are demanding that post-secondary institutions disclose their investments and divest from arms manufacturers and Israeli companies.

SJP initially announced the protest as a temporary daytime encampment, but announced on May 9 that the encampment would continue indefinitely, until their demands were met by the university.

According to a post on its Instagram account on May 15, SJP stepped down as organizers, passing the responsibility on to “students at large,” and saying it will focus instead on “negotiations with the University of Manitoba and UMSU.”

The encampment demands include that the university enforces “rigorous accountability measures” for anti-Palestinian discrimination and adopt a definition of anti-Palestinian racism in the Respectful Work and Learning Environment Policy.

The university and UMSU are called to “participate in the global academic boycott of Israeli
Institutions implicated in human rights violations.”

Further, they are called to disclose any existing investments with “organizations complicit in genocide against Palestinians” and financially divest from any such organizations.

The organizers also made demands that the university cease exchange programs
with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and other Israeli institutions.

The university made a statement on June 11 regarding many of the demands made by the encampment organizers. In response to boycotting universities and other institutions connected to Israel, the university stated it “values academic partnerships for their diversity and for the ways in which cross-collaborations between academics and students can enhance learning, spur innovation and solve problems.

“The only international partnership restrictions UM upholds are those imposed by the federal government.”

The university mentioned in the same statement that it “commits to public disclosure of its investment holdings by Fall 2024.”

The response ended with the university “[encouraging] students to dismantle the encampment and continue dialogue and advocacy through the many avenues that are in place for meaningful student engagement.”

Students at the University of Winnipeg also established an encampment, beginning on May 9.
The U of W encampment, titled the People’s University for Palestine, posted
a statement on Instagram demanding that the U of W disclose all of its investments, divest “from all companies complicit in Israeli apartheid and illegal occupation.”

The organizers called for the U of W to sever “all academic and economic ties with Israeli institutions” as per the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

Organizers at the U of W also demanded that students, staff or faculty at both the U of W and U of M do not face repercussions for any pro-Palestinian advocacy.

The U of W encampment voluntarily disbanded on the afternoon of June 25. At the
time of publication, the U of M encampment is ongoing.