IGOV Statement of Solidarity with UVic Students in Solidarity with Palestine (UVSSP)

This statement is supported by the faculty and staff of the School of Indigenous Governance (IGOV). The views presented in this statement do not reflect the position of University of Victoria (UVic).

The faculty members and staff at the School of Indigenous Governance (IGOV) express our profound support for our students' actions in solidarity with Palestinian people and in protest of the genocidal violence, occupation, and dispossession occurring in Gaza and the West Bank. We recognize students' rights to freedom of assembly and expression alongside and in solidarity with activists, students, and faculty undertaking actions on campuses around the world. We also recognize that "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. If there is no struggle, there is no progress." (Frederick Douglass).

UVic holds a longstanding commitment to providing an excellent learning experience in a supportive teaching and learning environment, to partnering with communities, and to pursuing research and creative activities that "make an impact, both locally and globally." (UVic Strategic Plan, 2023) We understand our students to be engaged members of the UVic intellectual community who are asking their institution for accountability and transparency and to honor their responsibilities to students. 

UVic's current strategic plan acknowledges that the changing nature of the global terrain necessitates "critical thinkers and interdisciplinary solutions; it needs perseverance and openness to the challenges ahead [...] it needs us to be bolder, more confident and more curious." As we work to empower our students to think and act within a framework that is critical, anti-oppressive, and relational, we recognize that their learning is elevated through grounded and activist practice, critical and transformative thinking, knowledge mobilization, and relational and coalitional work that we have witnessed at the encampment. We applaud the confidence, courage, and tenacity of UVic students and students like them as they work towards justice and transformation in solidarity with Palestinian people and lands.

Intellectually and pedagogically, IGOV is deeply committed to decolonial and transformative praxis, and we emphasize the importance of having space for dialogue and action surrounding these matters within the campus community. Our School's commitment to decolonization and to Indigenous life and sovereignty entails an awareness that in contexts of ongoing colonialism and occupation, we must actively question and act against political processes, institutions, and capitalist practices that sustain dispossession, genocide, and unfreedom.

As outlined in the letter given to President Hall by UVic's Faculty Association on May 6th, we are deeply concerned with recent developments from the University in response to the student encampment. We encourage the University of Victoria not to follow or reproduce the settler state template for responding to justified dissent; that is, through the use of policy to justify the surveillance and criminalization of movements toward accountability and justice by marginalized communities and through the creation of policy side trails that deflect from principal matters of decolonization and land.

We commend UVic students in solidarity with Palestine for the morally honourable work they are undertaking, through which they will continue learning to thoroughly think about, critique, and resist structures of authority and oppression in many contexts. These experiences will sharpen their analytical and research skills, and transform how they think about problems in the world. We call on the administration to support and hold up these students.


DIVEST: We demand the University of Victoria disclose all investments and divest from investments connected to companies that contribute to and benefit from the genocide of the Palestinian people, esp. Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems Canada Ltd., BlackRock and Scotiabank.

BOYCOTT: We demand that the University of Victoria and their Board of Governors support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctioning of Israel.

We demand that the University of Victoria cut all academic ties with Israeli universities and Zionist academics.

CONDEMN: We demand that President Kevin Hall and the University of Victoria board of Directors call for an immediate and permanent cease-fire, and publicly condemn the genocide and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

Subsequent silence on the issue is inexcusable considering that Israel has destroyed all 12 universities in Gaza during its ongoing bombardment since October 9, 2023.

AFFIRM: We demand the University of Victoria reaffirms Palestinians' right to resist and their Right of Return.

We demand that the University of Victoria hold true to their "commitment to implement core local, national and international responsibilities and calls to action that support the rights and sovereignty of Indigenous peoples," as stated in the UVIC Strategic Plan.

MAKE CAMPUS SAFE: We demand that the University of Victoria administer no charges or academic penalties on protesting students, faculty, and staff. We demand the University of Victoria create an action plan for the safety of Palestinian students and their allies on campus.

Keep police off our campus; police contribute to an environment that is unsafe for and is directly harmful to BIPOC and other visible minorities.

From UVic's 2023 Strategic Plan:

"We must strive to be relevant to local communities while also making a global impact. We must think critically about who we are and how we move in the world, embracing values of equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging."