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U of O threatens to issue a warning for entering the camp

U of O threatens to issue a warning for entering the camp

INSAF President Sumayya Kheireddine speaks at the press conference on Thursday morning. Photo: Kavi Vidya Achar/Fulcrum

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Encampment organizers and community allies hold press conference after threats from universities

Student protesters and community organizers from the University of Ottawa encampment held a press conference on June 27, drawing attention to the slow progress of negotiations and the threat of a violation notice from the university administration.

A press release shared with Fulcrum stated that the purpose of the press conference was to “sound the alarm after the university administration said through backdoors that they are considering issuing trespassing notices to protesting students and calling in police to break up the camp.” dismantle.”

The press conference comes as the encampment has been occupied for almost two full months at Tabaret Lawn, one of the longest remaining student camps at Canadian universities.

“Our encampment began in response to the University of Ottawa’s complicity in the ongoing genocide in Gaza and the occupation of Palestine,” said INSAF President Sumayya Kheireddeine.

Although the camp organizers submitted a revised proposal on June 17, they have not heard back from the university since then. On June 25, Vice President of Student Affairs Eric Bercier responded to the organizers’ follow-up, saying, “We (the administration) do not believe there is any point in continuing to discuss the same demands that you have maintained.”

“Yesterday (June 26), the Ottawa Police Liaison team was seen at the camp, where they spoke with members of the (U of O) security team,” Kheireddeine noted. “It is outrageous that the university would rather resort to intimidation and police intervention than engage with us in good faith and meet our demands.”

Speaking to the Ottawa Citizen, U of O spokesperson Jesse Robichaud said the university was not confirming “any speculation” about the allegations. Robichaud added that “(the) university remains committed to working toward a peaceful resolution to the situation, even though discussions have not yet achieved that goal.”

Also present at the press conference were representatives from several community groups standing in solidarity with Palestine and the U of O camp. This consisted of Hassan Husseini of Labor 4 Palestine; Dr. Yipeng Ge, a former medical assistant who was suspended from the U of O and from Health Workers Alliance for Palestine; Justin Piché, professor of criminology at the U of O and Faculty for Palestine; and Sarah Abdul-Karim of the Palestinian Youth Movement.

All speakers expressed their solidarity with the student camp and their disappointment with the University of Ottawa’s unwillingness to negotiate with the organizers.

Dr. Ge defined anti-Palestinian racism as “a distinct form of racism aimed at silencing, excluding, erasing, stereotyping, and dehumanizing Palestinians and their allies.”

“It is a form of racism that ignores Palestinian identity and rationalizes the violence inflicted on Palestinians in social, institutional and political contexts.”

“For (the U of O) to use the police to dismantle this camp and not enter into good faith negotiations with the students is an attack on the democratic and academic rights to freedom of expression and protest, and is rooted in anti -Palestinian racism.”

Abdul-Karim discussed the exhaustion of witnessing the genocide for nine months, and how several speakers stayed up late because of the university’s threats. “Many of us here were up until 3 a.m., 4 a.m. (on June 26) because of the way the U of O administration threatened us, to stay vigilant.”

The press conference included a brief question period before singing outside Tabaret Hall.

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