Protestors to dismantle pro-Palestinian encampment at Queen’s University

Click to play video: 'Protestors dismantle Pro-Palestinian encampment at Queen’s, review committee to hear divestment demands'
Protestors dismantle Pro-Palestinian encampment at Queen’s, review committee to hear divestment demands
Protestors at a Pro-Palestinian encampment said they will dismantle the camp at Queen's University in Kingston, nearly two weeks after they first made their demands for the university to divest out of Israeli-linked companies – May 22, 2024

Protestors are set to dismantle a Pro-Palestinian encampment at Queen’s University in Kingston following what they say are movements made by faculty administration to meet demands.

“We are thus announcing the end of our first encampment today,” said Yara Hussein, one of the protestors and a student at the university, at a press conference held outside the encampment on Wednesday. “This encampment was successful as it added pressure, allowed us to mobilize, and raised collective consciousness and built networks of solidarity across different movements.”

The protest began as a one-off overnight protest on May 10. It turned into an encampment after protestors said they were refused entry at a board of trustees committee meeting where they planned to speak to trustees about their demands.

Six demands were made by the protestors, including divestment by the university from Israel-linked companies, and cutting ties with Israeli universities. A spreadsheet provided by the group Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights discloses what the group says is the extent of the university’s financial ties to Israeli companies or those allegedly supporting the country’s military efforts. These companies include Google, Exxon, Chevron, Cisco Systems, Lockheed Martin, and Airbnb.

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Protestors said their demands to the university have been discussed and addressed by administrative staff, although a full commitment to all six has yet to be signed on paper.

In a statement to Global News on Wednesday, the university said a Review Committee for Responsible Investing will be created to review the request for divestment.

“Final approval rests with the Board of Trustees. There will be opportunities for all those who have an interest in this matter to participate in this process,” reads part of the statement.

“[W]e have said that we don’t see these as victories, but rather opportunities to hold this administration and these senior admin as accountable,” Hussein said.

As for the next steps, the university said no retaliatory measures will be taken place against protestors and campers.

“[Provost] Matthew Evans has ensured us… that he’s prepared to state on the record that there will be no retaliation against protestors,” said Ayca Tomac, member of the Queen’s Faculty Observers Network.

Zainab, a protestor who only provided their first name, said the confirmation from the provost about retaliatory measures not being taken against protestors was a condition to the encampment being dismantled.

“We have been told that the committee chair will be announced by the end of this week and to ensure representation of our party, we have requested two seats on this committee,” she said.

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— With files from Global’s Kaytlyn Poberznick.

Click to play video: 'Protestors erect Pro-Palestinian encampment at Queen’s University in Kingston'
Protestors erect Pro-Palestinian encampment at Queen’s University in Kingston

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