Faculty for Palestine Statement in Solidarity with the People's Circle for Palestine at the University of Toronto

May 30, 2024

The University of Toronto’s senior administration is using threats and intimidation in an attempt to silence the voices of justice ringing out from the St. George campus encampment, now one of the longest-running and largest in North America. Faculty for Palestine denounces in the strongest terms the administration’s threats of disciplinary action, suspension, expulsion, and mass termination against those involved in this peaceful protest (see Background and Timeline below). The administration’s cowardice is palpable, their hypocrisy undeniable. It is disgraceful and disturbing that the university filed an injunction on Monday to repress students and workers standing with Palestinians mere hours after Israel burned dozens of Palestinians alive in a camp for displaced people in Tal as-Sultan, Rafah.

As Faculty for Palestine, we continue to stand in unwavering solidarity with the brave students, faculty, and staff participating in the encampment on the St. George campus. Their courageous stand for justice, peace, and human rights inspires us all and demands our active support and solidarity. This encampment is more than a protest; it is a movement for justice, a demand for accountability, and a refusal to be complicit in the ongoing oppression of Palestinians. It is a symbol of our unwavering commitment to a world where all people are free from oppression, where justice prevails, and where human rights are respected.

The administration’s threats of disciplinary action, expulsion, and termination against those participating in this peaceful, vital encampment expose its fear of those who dare to challenge its power and military profiteering from the genocide and scholasticide in Gaza. And, despite its public statements regarding diversity and reconciliation, the university administration is deliberately targeting an encampment that is led and populated by racialized students of all backgrounds. Such measures are antithetical to the mission of a public university committed to fostering critical thinking and social responsibility. The administration’s threats belie its supposed commitment to academic freedom, anti-racism, and human rights, revealing its true allegiance to power, profit, and the status quo.

We call on our fellow faculty members, staff, and students to join us in solidarity with the encampment, to amplify student voices calling for disclosure, divestment and ending ties with complicit Israeli universities, and to resist all attempts to silence or punish those who dare to challenge business as usual at our universities. We salute the labour movement and community members for rallying with students Monday at the University of Toronto and for declaring: “If you move against the students, you’ll have to go through workers first.”

We amplify the urgent action call from the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) sent in the wake of one of Israel’s worst massacres yet – a massacre carried out in clear defiance of the recent ICJ order that the Israeli state immediately cease its military offensive in Rafah. The BNC calls, once again, for the imposition of a comprehensive military embargo on Israel and for peaceful actions to disrupt “the transport of weapons, weapon parts, and other military equipment to Israel.” For those working and studying in universities, let’s channel our rage and grief into deepening and widening the calls for divestment and academic boycott now.

#UofTDivest #FreePalestine #EndIsraeliApartheid

Faculty for Palestine (F4P) is a Canada-wide solidarity network of academics committed to advancing the struggle for Palestinian liberation, justice, and equality through the academic sector. F4P is founded on anti-racist, anti-colonial, social justice principles and foregrounds opposition to Israeli apartheid, occupation, and settler colonialism in its work. F4P organizes on issues of academic freedom, freedom of expression, and boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel; supports and organizes educational activities and actions focused on Israeli apartheid, occupation, settler colonialism, and the Palestinian right to education. F4P is an active partner in the global BDS movement, working closely with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), the Right to Education Campaign, and other partners in the Palestine solidarity movement transnationally. F4P stands against all forms of racism and specifically advocates on anti-Palestinian racism, Islamophobia, and antisemitism.


“The People’s Circle for Palestine” started May 2 in the heart of the University of Toronto campus, is surrounded by a massive fence that was initially erected by the University Administration to keep protesters out. It quickly became one of the largest encampments in North America with 175 tents, hundreds of campers, and a sacred fire led by Indigenous elders. The camp is supported by faculty, librarians and staff, alumni, campus labour unions, community members, and all student government organizations.

On May 24, the University senior administration issued a “trespass notice” threatening disciplinary measures for students and staff supporting the camp, and threatening an unprecedented mass termination of faculty (including tenured faculty). These actions have been challenged by the Faculty Association, as well as the Ontario Federation of Labour, and countless community members.n. On May 27th, the U of T administration filed an injunction for police clearance of the camp.

At a time when the International Court of Justice has outlined that Israel is plausibly committing genocide and has reaffirmed immediate implementation of provisional measures for Israel to stop its assault on Gaza, the Uof T has been called out for its institutional complicity in Israeli apartheid, occupation and genocide. For 7 months, the University has neglected students’ demands to disclose, divest and suspend ties with Israeli universities complicit in human rights violations and war crimes. Follow for more information and to support The People’s Circle for Palestine.