Pro-Palestinian encampment members reject McGill’s latest offer: SPHR McGill

“No guarantee of a material and tangible result,” says a spokesperson from SPHR McGill, as the group rejects the latest offer from McGill University. They say it doesn't meet their divestment demands. Swidda Rassy reports.

By News Staff

Pro-Palestinian encampment members at McGill are rejecting the latest offer from the university. A spokesperson with SPHR McGill confirmed to CityNews Tuesday morning that it doesn’t meet their divestment demands.

McGill had tabled a new offer on Monday to McGill members of the pro-Palestinian encampment, saying they are “going beyond previous proposals,” and calling for a return to “good-faith discussions.”

“We are calling on material and tangible results for divestment,” said a spokesperson with SPHR McGill.

McGill’s new offer includes a review to explore divestment from weapons manufactures. “A review of direct equity investments in entities, regardless of the countries in which they operate, that derive a dominant portion of their direct revenues from the production of military weapons would be undertaken,” they write in a press release issued Tuesday morning.

“Their proposal is to review or pass things through [McGill’s Board of Governors] which would essentially require a vote, and so there is no guarantee of a material and tangible result,” said the spokesperson.

According to the press release, McGill will also grant a disciplinary amnesty to any McGill student or employee who participated in the encampment before June 15, but they will not extend the pardon to any acts under current investigation such as what they call the forceible entry into the James Administration Building last Thursday, the destruction of property, vandalism, etc.

“They don’t guarantee amnesty for students who were inside James Administration Building, even though their only charge is protesting against a genocide that has been funded by their administration,” said the spokesperson.

Fabrice Labeau, vice-president of administration and finance at McGill University, calls the offer “reasonable.”

“At this point of time, I think this is really the best offer we put on the table.”

Adding, “I understand that this does not align directly with the initial demands of the campers, and especially of the members of the McGill community who may be in the encampment but achieving a resolution will require a good faith discussion from both parties.”

Labeau says decisions regarding divestment usually take years to sort out but this proposal offers an accelerated timeline.

“What we’re proposing here is a compressed and accelerated timeline that would lead to a decision by the December meeting of our Board of Governors.”

In addition, McGill says they will disclose all direct equity and fixed income investments below $500,000, create a mandate to support Palestinian scholarship at McGill, and leverage their Scholars at Risk program to “support scholars and students who are displaced or affected by crises in Gaza and in the Middle East. This would include extensive consultations across our community, including students.”

The offer also includes a renewed suggestion to appoint a neutral-third party mediator to facilitate the discussions

McGill university said similar proposals have led to successful resolutions and the voluntary dismantling of encampments by protesters at other universities.

“Achieving that resolution requires good-faith discussions from both parties,” reads the press release. “The University has made substantial offers on many occasions, yet encampment representatives have declared their demands non-negotiable. The university urges McGill members of the encampment to discuss this updated proposal in good faith, through a skilled and impartial mediator, in the hope of reaching a peaceful and satisfactory resolution for all.”

“The students are ashamed of their administration. We’ve seen to what extent they’re willing to go. They’re willing to unleash riot cops on their own students. They’re willing to tear gas community members, assault community members, through the riot cops,” said the spokesperson.

Adding, “The concern of the students is that their tuition money is being used to invest in weapons manufacturer companies that are manufacturing the bombs being dropped on our people in Gaza.”

The camp has been setup on the lower field of the downtown Montreal campus since April 27.

Pro-Palestinian encampment at McGill University in downtown Montreal on June 11, 2024. (Swidda Rassy, CityNews Image)
Pro-Palestinian encampment at McGill University in downtown Montreal on June 11, 2024. (Swidda Rassy, CityNews Image)

Pro-Palestinian encampment at UQAM taken down June 6

The pro-Palestinian encampment at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) was officially taken down June 6. Demonstrators had been camping there for nearly a month, but insisted that their fight for liberation of the Palestinian people was not over.

The camp had been set up in the courtyard of the Complexe des sciences Pierre-Dansereau since May 12.

Campers had said that they were satisfied with a resolution adopted by the university’s board of directors Wednesday night about the Israel-Hamas war.

In this resolution, UQAM pledged to “ensure that none of its current and future academic agreements, including those with Israeli universities, come into conflict” with certain principles

The school also made a commitment to peace and respect for international humanitarian law.

The resolution calls on the Fondation de l’UQAM to have no direct investment that profit from armaments.

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