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‘Giving us the runaround’: University of Toronto not addressing demands, protesters say

Click to play video: 'University protests: McGill, Uof T pro-Palestinian protesters vow to stay until divestment demands met'
University protests: McGill, Uof T pro-Palestinian protesters vow to stay until divestment demands met
WATCH - University protests: McGill, UofT pro-Palestinian protesters vow to stay until divestment demands met – May 3, 2024

Organizers of a pro-Palestinian protest encampment at the University of Toronto said Wednesday the university is ignoring their demands and instead focusing on the logistics of the demonstration.

Erin Mackey, one of the spokespeople for the protesters, said the group previously had discussions with university administrators about sanitation and other issues related to the encampment.

After that, the group indicated it would no longer participate in talks unless they were about its demands that the university disclose its ties with the Israeli government and divest from Israeli companies, she said.

The university indicated it was unwilling to do that, she said.

“They have all these other things that they want addressed but they’re not addressing the core issue, which is why we are here — we are here demanding divestment,” she said.

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“They’re giving us the runaround and we’re calling them out, saying that that’s not good enough.”

Click to play video: 'University of Toronto focused on ‘dialogue’ with encampment protestors'
University of Toronto focused on ‘dialogue’ with encampment protestors

In a statement issued Wednesday morning, the university said it is continuing to correspond with student representatives for the encampment and is currently focused on its “responsibility for the health, safety, and security of our students.”

The administration said it looks forward to resolving those issues so it can “move to the substantive discussions that both participants in the encampment and the university want to have.”

The encampment, which was established last Thursday, is one of several set up on university campuses in recent weeks.

Pro-Palestinian activists have also set up tents at McGill University in Montreal, the University of Ottawa, McMaster University in Hamilton and the University of British Columbia campus in Vancouver.

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Click to play video: 'Tent encampment continues for second day at University of Toronto'
Tent encampment continues for second day at University of Toronto

Sara Rasikh, a master’s student and another spokesperson for the University of Toronto protesters, said administrators have been “absolutely unresponsive” and demonstrators are preparing for the long haul.

“Nothing has been good enough so far,” she said. “We are not going to be leaving until our demands are finally met.”

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