Protesters announce plan to vacate University of Guelph camp

Protesters announce plan to vacate University of Guelph camp
Protesters announce plan to vacate University of Guelph camp

Pro-Palestinian protesters at the University of Guelph say they will disband their camp on July 15.

The announcement came on the same day the school officially issued a trespassing warning. Staff sent a letter to participants over the weekend, asking them to leave campus by Sunday, July 7. They also warned that if they didn’t leave, the school would take legal action.

On Monday, the protesters issued their own press release stating that it was “unrealistic to dismantle safely in this time frame” and refused to “meet the unrealistic expectation of adhering to arbitrary deadlines set by the government under threat of legal action.”

The University of Guelph officially issued a trespassing notice that same day.

“If the camp is not immediately disbanded and Branion Plaza is not vacated, the university will seek an injunction in the Ontario Supreme Court,” their statement said.

The protesters insisted that it had always been their plan to donate materials and supplies to the homeless population once they decided to close the camp – on their own terms.

“It would take more than a day to manage this process of packing and transferring these materials in an organized way to avoid damage and waste,” explains Celia Garcia.

Pro-Palestinian settlement at the University of Guelph on July 8, 2024. (Stefanie Davis/CTV News)

A few hours later, the group announced on social media that they wanted to leave Branion Plaza.

“We will be leaving on our own timeline, in the wake of the university administration’s blatant threats of police violence against their own students and employees for participating in this camp,” they claimed in the Instagram post. “This timeline will allow us to leave safely, respecting the land where we are gathered, and without damaging or wasting the camp’s materials.”

In response to the protesters’ plan, the University of Guelph issued the following statement: “The university has decided to discontinue the lawsuit and injunction application, provided that the camp is disbanded and vacated by 9:00 a.m. Monday, July 15, without incident.”

They further said: “We are extending this deadline as a gesture of good faith that the camp will be disbanded and will not return, and that all activities this week and beyond will be lawful and in accordance with university policy. If these conditions are not met or if disruptions to university activities continue, the university will take legal action.”