Dear U of G students, faculty and staff,

Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we work to come to a resolution regarding the encampment on our campus. I want to provide you with an update as we head into the weekend.

After a series of meetings, representatives from U of G’s administration had a full day meeting with encampment representatives on Wednesday followed by an additional meeting yesterday afternoon. We had hoped these discussions would generate a productive path forward.

The University has put forward substantial proposals that are contingent on the encampment voluntarily disbanding and ensuring any future protests are aligned with University policies. These include:

  • a commitment to annual disclosure of University investments to members of the U of G community;
  • establishment of scholarships for students displaced by conflict, including Palestinian students;
  • additional meetings with the U of G community to better understand their lived experiences and inform the University’s approach to anti-Palestinian racism and antisemitism training and education; and
  • a commitment to launch a review of the University’s Human Rights Policy.

However, encampment representatives have told us they will not disband for anything less than immediate divestment from their specified list of companies, effectively bringing discussions to a close.

We have been clear since the beginning that requests concerning divestment must be subject to a Board of Governors process for endowment portfolio management in accordance with the University’s Special Action Policy. That process was activated in late March when the University Secretariat received an expression of concern from UoG for Palestine before the encampment’s establishment.

The Board’s ad hoc committee is committed to following the process outlined in the Special Action Policy and to working as expeditiously as possible. The ad hoc committee will need to take into account a number of factors, including the complexity of the investments in the endowment portfolio, the legal and fiduciary responsibilities of the Board, the impact of any shift in investment approach on the total return and risk profile of the endowment portfolio, and the degree to which “social injury” can be demonstrated as detailed in the policy.

We remain committed to a peaceful resolution and are ready to continue talks if and when encampment members wish to return with the intent of arriving at a solution that is feasible and in line with University principles and policies.

Although this is a challenging time, we are focused on our community and particularly on ensuring next week’s convocation ceremonies proceed successfully and safely. I consider convocation to be a profoundly significant event in a student’s academic journey and a vital part of their U of G experience. We expect members of the encampment will respect the wishes of their fellow students and their families to keep the focus of convocation on the celebration of this important milestone.

I know these past several months have been an incredibly challenging, stressful and emotional time for many members of our community. As we navigate through this tumultuous time, it’s natural to feel a mix of fear, anger, and sorrow, especially for those directly impacted or with loved ones affected by the conflict. If you are in need of support, I encourage you to use the resources available below.

Students support:

Faculty and staff support:

Kind regards,

Dr. Charlotte A. B. Yates
President and Vice-Chancellor
University of Guelph

Visit the statements page for previous updates on the encampment.