School of Social Work Statement on Palestine


This statement is supported by the faculty and staff of the School of Social Work. The views presented in this statement do not necessarily represent those of the University of Victoria.

The Faculty and Staff at the School of Social Work at the University of Victoria presents this statement, born from deep reflections on our identity and the reasons for our public declaration. Our unwavering commitment is centered on decolonizing epistemologies, responsibilities, and practices.

We firmly stand against settler colonial violence wherever it exists, on Lekwungen territory, across Turtle Island, and beyond. We gratefully acknowledge the support and solidarity of the Indigenous Circle of the School, who stated: 

As Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island (Canada), we have suffered at the hands of colonization for over 100 years. Colonial attempts to eradicate our individual Nations as First Nations, Métis, and Inuit have stolen our lands, murdered our women and children, and attempted to erase us from this country that boasts of standing for peace and freedom. Today we stand with our Palestinian brothers and sisters with solidarity and collective offerings of support. You are in our hearts and prayers.

As a School, we express our solidarity with the Indigenous people of Palestine, who are experiencing settler-colonial violence, including occupation, violent dispossession of land, displacement, and, in the last 150 days, a military campaign that has killed 35,000 people and displaced nearly 2 million people on the brink of famine. 

In the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Canada, we adopt anti-colonial solidarity not only as a legitimate, ethical position but also as a crucial analytical perspective. We grieve over the lost lives and the harm that is being inflicted on Mother Earth through warfare and colonization.

This statement is crucial as it emphasizes that to remain silent in the face of injustice is to be complicit. We recognize the interconnectedness of global and local colonialism and racism, highlighting how the war on Gaza affects the bodies and souls of racialized communities through an increase in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism directed at Jewish people and others of Semitic background. We stand in solidarity with other universities and institutions that have experienced racial violence in Canadian society, university campuses, and other institutional spaces when exercising their democratic rights to free, organized, non-violent protest marches to voice opposition to Israeli state violence against the people of Gaza.

We demand an immediate ceasefire and an end to Israeli state policies of human-made famine and the blockade of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

We call on the Canadian government to cease bankrolling military operations against people living in Gaza.

We call on the senior administration and leadership at UVic to proactively affirm the academic freedom of our community of scholars, students, and staff who study, teach, and protest anti-settler colonialism and to affirm the right to anti-Zionist speech and action on campus.

Moreover, we recognize that UVic is investing in companies that are supplying, supporting, and profiting from the war and call for an urgent dialogue and pathway to divestment. 

Lastly, we call on all levels of government who have not already done so to join the call for a ceasefire and freedom for Palestine.