University of Toronto Seeks Court Order to End Pro-Palestinian Protests

Canada North America Higher Education News by Erudera News May 29, 2024

University of Toronto - St. George Campus

The University of Toronto has requested the court to order police to clear an encampment established earlier this month by pro-Palestinian protesters after the latter refused to leave campus until their demands are met.

The school filed a notice of motion with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Monday, asking for the police to arrest protesters and end the demonstrations, which school officials say are causing “irreparable harm” to the university, reports.

Documents submitted to the court were filed on the same day other university presidents appeared before the House of Commons justice committee, including the University of Toronto President Meric Gertler, who said there was a “growing presence” of antisemitism on campus.

“Yesterday morning, lawyers representing the university served court documents commencing a legal process to end the encampment. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has arranged a case conference today to discuss the scheduling of the motion. The university is seeking an interlocutory injunction to end the encampment,” U of T said on Tuesday, May 28.

The notice claims pro-Palestinian protesters have blocked access to King’s College Circle, limiting free speech and access to campus.

On the other hand, protesters said they would not leave campus and would continue the legal battle with the university, ignoring the university’s warnings and deadlines for students to end their encampment; otherwise, they would face police action.

In a statement on May 23, President Meric Gertler said the U of T community has experienced discrimination and harassment since the pro-Palestine encampment began.

“From day one, our goal has been to achieve a peaceful and sustainable resolution to the unauthorized encampment … the encampment must end,” Gertler said.

Students have set up the encampment on May 2, asking the university to divest from Israeli companies that support the war in Gaza.

The university said it held a meeting with students representing protesters on the St. George Campus on Monday and will meet again on Wednesday to discuss and try to reach a deal to end the demonstrations.

“Our next meeting is on Wednesday. We continue with discussions to reach a negotiated end to the unauthorized encampment. We also continue to pursue legal action to restore the use of King’s College Circle to the entire University community,” President Gertler said.

Students said their demands on divestment from Israeli companies are clear. According to them, the university wants students to end protests but it has never shown during the negotiations efforts to end the genocide committed against the Palestinian people.

Student protests against Israel’s war on Gaza started at the United States Columbia University and soon spread around the world. Amid students’ activism, most recently, the University of Melbourne agreed to disclose its partnerships with weapons companies.

© Narciso Arellano | Unsplash

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>> Study Finds Nearly All College Protests Against Israel’s War on Gaza Have Been Peaceful

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