York University has suspended multiple employees, including a sociology professor, following charges in connection to the vandalism of a Toronto Indigo bookstore that targeted the company’s Jewish CEO.
However, the university’s faculty union is fighting back, calling the suspended employees “peace activists.” It wants them reinstated.
As previously reported by True North, York associate professor Lesley Wood was charged with Mischief Over $5,000 and Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence.
Now, she and at least two other York employees have been suspended, the Globe and Mail reported.
In a statement to True North, York spokesperson Yanni Dagonas confirmed that “the university has placed the community members named in the Nov. 23 Toronto police media advisory on leave.”
Dagonas declined to offer further comment, citing “confidential employment matters.”
In an interview with the Globe and Mail, Wood accused Toronto police of “dragging our names through the mud.”
She added that “hate crime charges used to stop those speaking out against hate” are “grotesque” and “Orwellian.”
According to Wood, the charges laid seek to target “those who work for a peaceful, freer and more just future for both the Palestinians and the Israelis.”
She also said that her great-grandparents fled from pogroms (violent attacks on Jews) in Poland, and that she was raised to be “proud but private” about her Jewish identity.
The York University Faculty Association is siding with Wood and other pro-Palestine faculty members.
In an email obtained by Quilette journalist Jonathan Kay, the union said “we stand with York faculty, staff, students, and alumni! We call upon York University to stop campus reprisals.”
It added that “the arrests are an effort to repress Palestine solidarity peace activism at a time when the majority of people in Canada support a ceasefire.”
The union is planning a campus walkout and protest Tuesday afternoon against the reprisals.
This is not the first time that York has been in the news for radical anti-Israel activism since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack.
As previously reported by True North, the York Federation of Students, York University’s Graduate Student Association and the Glendon College Student Union said in a joint statement that the attacks on “so-called Israel” serve as “a reminder that resistance against colonial violence is justified and necessary.”
The unions have also promoted controversial anti-Israel rally chants, including “no peace on stolen land” and “long live the Intifada” (armed uprisings).
Meanwhile, York Instructor Dina Zaid Alkilani gained attention after she boycotted her social justice classes to protest the university’s condemnation of Hamas.
Wood and the York University Faculty Association did not respond to a request for comment.