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Tents to come down at McMaster after pro-Palestinian protesters reach agreement with university

McMaster University says the student-led, pro-Palestinian encampment that has grown on campus over the past two-and-a-half weeks is ending after the school and protesters agreed on terms.

Tents to come down by Saturday evening after being set up on May 5, says McMaster

A sign with tents in the background.

McMaster University says the student-led, pro-Palestinian encampment that has grown on campus over the past two-and-a-half weeks is ending after the school and protestors agreed on terms.

The school's update, posted Friday, said there were a "series of meaningful discussions" that led to the decision. The university says the students agreed to remove tents by Saturday evening and not form another encampment on campus.

CBC Hamilton reached out to the student organizers. On Friday evening, they said they would be releasing a statement shortly.

The groups, McMaster Apartheid Divest Coalition and Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR), have been demanding McMaster disclose its investments connected to Israel and the war in Gaza and divest from them.

On Friday, McMaster said its new commitments included:

  • Having its International Strategy Advisory Committee (ISAC) develop a framework for human rights considerations in international agreements.
  • Meeting with its chief financial officer in June about the school's investment strategy, with SPHR in attendance.
  • Annual disclosures of all direct investments and the names of the pooled funds held in the school's investment pool to the board of governors.
  • Inviting SPHR to present on divestment to the board of governors.
  • Creating an open process to allow questions about the school's investments.
  • Making up to $200,000 available to support qualified Palestinian academics and students under the school's Scholars-at-Risk Program and Students-at-Risk Bursary.
  • Publishing a series of stories about McMaster students impacted by conflicts and crises, including Palestinian students.

The ending of the encampment is in contrast with most other encampments on school campuses. Some have seen universities file injunctions on demonstrators, issue trespass notices or police cracking down on protesters.

"This has been a very difficult time for many people on our campus. We recognize the profound grief that so many are experiencing," read McMaster's update.

"We also appreciate the willingness of those in the encampment who were willing to participate in such productive discussions."

The student groups set up the encampment on McMaster campus on May 5.

It drew attention to the ongoing humanitarian situation in Gaza, where more than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed since early October, according to health officials in Gaza.

While the health ministry does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its death tolls, it says the majority of the dead have been women and children.

The humanitarian situation follows the Israeli military's response to an attack on Oct. 7 that was launched by Hamas and other militants. In that attack, 1,200 people were killed, including several Canadian citizens. Hamas also took more than 250 people hostage.

The initial demands from the encampment were that the school:

  • Disclose its investments in weapons companies and defence contractors, and divests from companies they say have ties to Israel and the conflict in Gaza.
  • Terminate exchange programs and partnerships with Israeli academic institutions.
  • Declare that Israel's bombardment of Gaza is a genocide.

Within a week, the encampment grew to have over 100 people and close to 70 tents, with daily activities and speakers.


Bobby Hristova


Bobby Hristova is a journalist with CBC Hamilton. He reports on all issues, but has a knack for stories that hold people accountable, stories that focus on social issues and investigative journalism. He previously worked for the National Post and CityNews in Toronto. You can contact him at bobby.hristova@cbc.ca.

Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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