Source: X

Anti-Israel protestors at Ontario Tech University are further entrenching their encampment after administrators agreed to a key demand made by protesters.

After accommodating the demands of illegal protest campers at Ontario Tech University, the university was told the protesters weren’t going anywhere, as they introduced new demands.

According to a university statement, the key demands of the anti-Israel encampment, which sprung up May 6 at OTU’s north Oshawa campus, centred on the disclosure and divestment of their alleged aerospace investments to Israel.

After meeting with representatives of the encampment, the university said it agreed to the key demand that it disclose its aerospace investments, even adding a commitment to “expand access to education for Palestinian and other displaced students.”

The university refused to share information concerning aerospace investments with True North.

The OntarioTech4Palestine Instagram page linked to the protest lists their public demands.

Among the demands were calls for the university to protect all students from the legal or academic repercussions which could arise from their illegal protest and for the university to take a clear stance against Israel.

“OTU must call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and an end to Israel’s blockade, apartheid and occupation against the Palestinian people.”

They also demanded that the university disallow Israeli international students from attending the school.

“OTU must immediately end all student exchanges and study abroad programs with organizations and universities in Israel.”.

They also were outraged that the university shut off its power, leaving protesters in the dark at night.

Originally, the protesters were given until Thursday, May 9, to dismantle the encampment due to “the associated health and safety risks” and disruption of other planned events. After meeting with the protesters, the university gave them until Sunday, May 12, at 9 a.m. to vacate.

The protesters said there were no health and safety concerns, and the notice for them to leave was not given “in good faith.” The protesters were also offended by the language used in the university’s response to their demands.

When the university officially told them to leave at 4:21 pm on Friday, it gave the encampment until 6 p.m. to respond.

“The occupants requested multiple extensions to prepare for their response, which the university granted in good faith,” the university said in the statement.

The encampment provided their written response over 24 hours past the original date given.

“The occupants responded that they would not remove the encampment and made additional demands that not only escalated what was initially requested but also shifted in tone,” OTU said.

They said the demands were expanded to include information on all the university’s donors, with “an apparent motive to identify individuals based on their Israeli heritage.”

“Their new demands not only contravene legal, contractual, and ethical standards but also undermine the university’s commitment to equity and inclusion for all community members, irrespective of their faith or ethnic background,” the school said. “Additionally, their response included inaccuracies and misleading statements as well as a clear injection of third-party interests by individuals who are not members of the university community.”

Protesters have denied any involvement with third parties.

“This is and always will be false,” the protesters said on Instagram. “This is a way for the admin to undermine our work as students.”

When True North asked the university who the third-party interests and individuals were and how the school came to that conclusion, a representative from the school refused to comment.

“There are no updates at this time. Updates will be posted on the timeline website when available.”

Despite the escalation, the university told the protesters they were still willing to continue to engage in “genuine and constructive dialogue” based on what they had previously spoken about.

The occupiers responded to the university by stating they would not leave until they received a written agreement to satisfy their new demands.

The protesters have stated they are committed to “going back to the negotiation table to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties.”