Previous updates to encampment on UVic campus

Update for the UVic community on the People’s Park UVic encampment

UVic has taken a calm, measured and reasoned approach to the encampment that was established May 1 by the People’s Park UVic.  Since the middle of June, through a facilitator, we have been working with People’s Park UVic towards a peaceful conclusion of the encampment.

Unfortunately, we have not successfully achieved agreement on the process and timeline for decampment. The university was disappointed to learn of this impasse through social media posts from People’s Park UVic.

As we see no further prospect for a successful dialogue, the university has advised the People’s Park UVic that they are trespassing and asked them to leave university property.


June 4, 2024

Update regarding the encampment and recent disruptions on campus

Dear UVic community,

As you may recall, we met with People’s Park UVic on Friday afternoon. We left that meeting with a feeling of cautious optimism. We had hoped that we were embarking on a positive way forward together. Unfortunately, since that meeting, the actions of encampment members have demonstrated an unwillingness to work with the university towards a peaceful resolution.

We have said from the beginning that the university supports peaceful, safe and lawful protest and the right to freedom of expression; however, acts of vandalism, harassment and intimidation in any form cannot—and will not—be tolerated.

Since Friday, members of the encampment have engaged in intimidating behaviour and disrupted operations at our campus Starbucks twice and disrupted high-school graduation ceremonies at the Jamie Cassels Centre.

These actions have made many members of the university and broader community feel unsafe. For this reason, we do not feel that constructive and productive conversations with People’s Park UVic are possible or in the best interest of our broader campus community at this time.

We know that many individuals in the encampment are also members of the campus community and have expressed their passionate beliefs about the atrocities happening in Gaza. We join them in calling for an urgent cessation of violence against all civilians. However, these beliefs do not give anyone permission to commit acts of vandalism or infringe on the rights of others on our campus. Anyone engaging in these activities will be held accountable and the university is prepared to take necessary steps to protect the safety of all members of the university community.

To this end, we sent a letter to People’s Park UVic today requiring members of the encampment to immediately refrain from all acts of vandalism, intimidation and harassment, along with demonstrations or activities that disrupt campus operations. We are awaiting confirmation in writing of their agreement to cease these activities before we consider re-engaging in any form of discussion.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Croft, Vice-President Academic and Provost
Kristi Simpson, Vice-President Finance and Operations


Update on May 31 meeting with the People's Park UVic encampment

Dear UVic community,

On Friday afternoon, we continued our conversation with student representatives of the People’s Park UVic encampment. We are planning to continue this conversation and are proposing to meet with them again on Wednesday, June 5. We hope to find a shared understanding of a productive path forward.

As a follow up from our last meeting, we have shared information about our Responsible Investment Policy (FM5215) and Working Capital Investment Policy (FM5200) with encampment members.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Croft, Vice-President Academic and Provost
Kristi Simpson, Vice-President Finance and Operations


May 30, 2024

Update on meeting with the People's Park UVic encampment

Dear UVic community,

On Wednesday afternoon, we had a lengthy conversation with members of the People’s Park UVic encampment. As the two senior vice-presidents with responsibility for academic and financial operations at the university, we are best positioned to discuss the demands put forward by the encampment

We are open to continuing discussions with the students participating in the encampment and will meet with them again on Friday. As you can appreciate, these issues are complex and deserve deep discussion — we hope that this is the beginning of a series of meetings between the students and university leaders. We will update our community on the outcomes of these meetings as this work progresses.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Croft, Vice-President Academic and Provost
Kristi Simpson, Vice-President Finance and Operations


May 23, 2024

Update on encampment demands

Dear students, staff and faculty,

We are a university community with widely diverse needs and viewpoints and how we respond to the encampment must represent this. We would like to provide a reflection to the university community on the demands before us and the dialogue that we are willing to participate in with students who are part of the encampment.

We do not have a prescribed pathway regarding the encampment. What guides us is our desire to come to a resolution that supports peaceful expression among our community and preserving our faculty's academic freedom. As I've shared repeatedly, we are committed to actively engage with concerned students regarding the encampment and to draw insights from the successes and failures of other institutions. We also need to learn from our own experiences here at UVic—both our successes and our failures.

On May 1 protestors from the encampment at the University of Victoria publicly shared a document, and provided a copy to the university directly via email, outlining five demands that they seek to have the university address.

As you can see, the demands are complex. We cannot simply agree to the list and immediately address the expectations of members of the encampment. In addition to this list of demands, our offices have received hundreds of emails with views varying from those supportive of the demands to those extremely opposed to the demands and their perceived implications to academic freedom and freedom of expression. We have also heard from those who feel unsafe on campus due to the presence of the encampment. To proceed we must all be willing to engage in thoughtful, reasoned and respectful discourse.

We will try to address the encampment's five demands below:

Divest

On May 10, we provided a public statement to build a shared understanding of UVic's investments and our approach to responsible investing which includes the calls for divestment.

We have invited students from the encampment to engage in further dialogue with us and to participate in the review of the university's policy on responsible investing (FM5215). This policy review is already underway and broad input is valuable to the process.

This dialogue and a robust and renewed policy will guide us both today and into the future. We hope that a student representative from the encampment will participate in these discussions and this policy review.

Boycott

The encampment demands include what has been called an "academic boycott" of all Israeli universities and students and academics. The university is unable to support this demand for two important reasons.

First, considering nationality in admissions and hiring decisions is unacceptable and against the university's values and policies, and may contravene BC's Human Rights code.

Second, while the university currently does not have any active exchange programs with Israeli institutions, individual academics do have partnerships and collaborations with academics in Israel. Scholarly connections like these are covered by the principles of academic freedom and Section 14 of the UVic Faculty Association collective agreement. The university will continue to respect the ability of individual faculty members to engage with academic partnerships, as protected by academic freedom.

Condemn

We echo our earlier comments and once again join the call from around the globe for a ceasefire and an end to the violence in the Middle East. The severity of this humanitarian crisis weighs heavily on all of us and is especially traumatic for those with ties to the region and survivors of armed conflict from other parts of the world.

The role of the university is to create and disseminate knowledge and engage in deep and constructive dialogue. Universities must be places where robust intellectual exploration and respectful dialogue can and should happen and we pledge to uphold this. We respect the diversity of opinion and viewpoint that exists within our community at UVic, and we have certainly experienced this diversity in the messages and comments sent to our various offices.

The university is a place for dissent and criticism. It should foster an environment where this dissent and criticism can occur by individual faculty members, staff and by students. If the university assumes it can speak for everyone on global conflicts or other topics beyond our operations, we undermine the right of our students, staff and faculty who hold different views to be welcomed in our community, to express themselves and to participate in debate. The university should not in any way hinder our scholars and students from their free inquiry or expression.

Since this current global crisis began in October and for the duration of the encampment, members of our community have called on us to address the crisis from a wide variety of often conflicting viewpoints. We continue to do our best to uphold our responsibility to enable constructive debate, to support individuals impacted by the crisis, and to work together to listen to and better understand diverse perspectives.

Affirm

Acts of violence and hate have no place in our shared pursuit of knowledge, understanding and peace. We share concerns for the future, knowledge and culture of the Palestinian people. As we shared earlier, UVic supports the ability of individual faculty to engage in academic partnerships and collaborations--this includes with Palestinian academics and Palestinian cultural institutions.

UVic is also a member of the Scholars at Risk program. In the past, we have welcomed scholars from regions experiencing conflict, and we welcome doing so with scholars from the Middle East as well.

Make campus safe

Creating an inclusive, welcoming environment at UVic is a shared responsibility among us all. Islamophobia, antisemitism and anti-Palestine hate are unacceptable on our campus. The University of Victoria is committed to cultivating a campus environment that is inclusive, equitable and supportive. We believe that education, work and learning cultures that value diversity and inclusion, and foster respect are key to the prevention of discrimination and harassment and are the fundamental underpinnings of a fair and equitable planet.

The university is continually reviewing its policies and procedures to ensure they are robust, align with human rights codes and legislation, and support a respectful, compassionate and inclusive campus environment for all. Policies are considered living documents that need to respond to recurrent challenges on campus. The policies and procedures related to campus security currently under review include: Response to At-Risk Behaviour (SS9125), Discrimination and Harassment (GV0205), Sexualized Violence Prevention and Response (GV0245), and the Campus Security Standard Operating Procedures.

The university has maintained a calm and measured approach to the encampment, and we have been consistent in signalling our intention to continue to do so while it remains peaceful and safe.

While some may not like the presence of security, emergency services and police on campus, many in our community welcome and need their support. We appreciate their efforts to keep our community safe and supported. The university will continue to do what is necessary to provide a safe and secure campus.

To be clear, the university does not have a campus police force. There are limits to what Campus Security can do and we rely on support from our policing partners when appropriate and necessary for the safety and security of the university community.

We have seen examples within the last couple of weeks where the university, including members of the encampment, required support from Campus Security and police partners. We are grateful to members of Campus Security and to Saanich Police for their quick and professional responses.

Campus Security has worked throughout the year with event organizers and campus partners to develop safety plans for events, demonstrations and individuals. They are eager to learn more about meaningful shifts in policies and processes that would better support the safety of the UVic community as it engages in these challenging conversations.

The evolving situation and our responses to it are set to leave a lasting impact on our university and our community. We commit to continuing to try to find a balance between allowing for peaceful, lawful and safe protest and ensuring all members of our campus community feel safe and supported.

We understand that this is a fraught topic and challenging for everyone involved. We appreciate the effort many are making to respond with empathy and patience. Even when we disagree, it's important to remember that we are all doing our best during very difficult times.

Sincerely,

Kevin Hall, President and Vice-Chancellor
Elizabeth Croft, Vice-President Academic and Provost
Kristi Simpson, Vice-President Finance and Operations


May 19, 2024

Statement from Kristi Simpson, VP Finance & Operations

As the member of the university executive responsible for Campus Security, I would like to provide an update and clarity to the university community regarding the use of CCTV cameras.

As has been shared in updates to the community from the President, the university does not have a CCTV camera installed on the McPherson Library.

As part of prudent planning—and within their efforts to support the safety and security of the university community—Campus Security has explored many options, including the use of CCTV.  Part of this exploration was to survey possible locations for a CCTV in advance of any request for a decision to be made by President Hall and the executive of the university.

Images you may see online or in the media could have been taken as this exploration was being conducted. For a short period of time on May 8, a camera was placed on the roof of the McPherson Library solely for the purpose of checking feasibility. It was never enabled or actively used. President Hall and the executive were not aware that a camera was ever on the roof of the library.

When presented with the option to employ CCTV, President Hall and the executive were very clear that a CCTV camera should not be installed or used to monitor the encampment.

Our Campus Security team has been providing professional support to all members of the university community. They are charged with making recommendations for consideration by executive, that they believe will best enable us to continue to be calm and measured in addressing the encampment at the university.

I acknowledge the confusion and uncertainty that has occurred. Our approach has been to provide the university community with clarity, and with accurate and timely information. I apologize for our failure to do so in this case.  We recognize that our internal communications need to improve to avoid miscommunications like this in the future.

We take the privacy of our community seriously. We are committed to communicating to our community ahead of any installation of CCTV cameras to monitor the Quad.

I want to end, as President Hall has, by reminding everyone to treat each other with respect, patience and empathy. We are all doing our best during difficult times, and we are grateful for your patience and understanding. 

Kristi Simpson
Vice President Finance and Operations


Updated May 15, 2024

Statement from President Hall

On May 10, I provided an update to the university community regarding the encampment that was set up at the University of Victoria on May 1. The active threat that occurred yesterday at First Peoples House has prompted me to write again.

As has been shared numerous times, the university supports peaceful demonstrations and the right to freedom of expression. We are committed to ensuring our university is a space where we can all effectively engage with complex issues — this is fundamental to our role as an institution of higher learning.

The university also recognizes the right and expectation of students, faculty, staff and visitors to go about their activities at the university in an environment that is free of threats to their physical security. I am concerned that the persistent presence, scale and prominence of the encampment at the university is attracting additional challenges to our campus.

Over the last week, we have seen an increasing number of complaints related to unacceptable incidents and behaviours. Some are acts of harassment and intimidation, while others are illegal, destructive and dangerous. Examples include:

  • Last week, we shared that members of the encampment had been physically assaulted. At the time, the encampment members chose not to press charges because they didn’t want to identify themselves to Campus Security or police. This prevented the individual from being arrested and charged. The university has since presented the individual with a trespass notice, which prevents them from returning to campus.
  • Spreading misinformation such as accusations that the university has set up surveillance cameras on the roof of the Mearns Centre for Learning – McPherson Library. As I have shared earlier, we have not.
  • As groups of young high-school students are being led on tours of the university, profanity and other disturbing phrases are being yelled at them from the encampment.
  • We are seeing increasing acts of vandalism. Signage, walkways and now buildings are being spray-painted, relaying messages consistent with those put forth by members of the encampment. This is causing concern for employees in these spaces.
  • We are experiencing a significant increase in unauthorized after-hours access to buildings by members of the encampment. This is occurring after buildings are locked in the evening. This past weekend, members of the encampment were witnessed riding bikes through the first floor of the McPherson Library.

Of greatest concern, on Monday night, an individual set up a tent next to First Peoples House. This occurred after numerous public calls from the encampment for members of the local community to come join them. The individual was showing signs of substance use that led to the need for a medical response from Campus Security and emergency first responders. This response was hindered because of interventions from members of the encampment. As a result, the university initiated the steps necessary to have the individual removed from campus.

Yesterday, an individual matching the description of the person from the previous night went into First Peoples House and threatened people in the building with a knife. This was an active threat that resulted in a significant Saanich Police response.

We are grateful to members of Campus Security and to Saanich Police for their quick and professional response. While some may not like the presence of security, emergency services and police on campus, many in our community welcome and need their support. We appreciate their efforts to keep our community safe and supported.

While we are grateful for the quick and significant response by Saanich Police, we recognize that a significant police presence in First Peoples House, a sacred space on our campus, can be troubling.

Our hearts go out to members of the Indigenous community at UVic and others who were directly affected and threatened by this individual’s actions. The affected staff members are being supported and First Peoples House will be closed for the remainder of the week in order to do the necessary cultural work to cleanse the space. This closure further impacts members of the Indigenous community who rely on the services provided through First Peoples House at a time when that support is critically needed.

We know the encampment includes UVic students and is supported by some staff and faculty. We also know that many others are not members of the university community. Campus activism is part of a university experience for many students. Acts of hate, discrimination, property damage and actual or perceived threats of violence are not. It is incredibly irresponsible for encampment organizers to encourage other members of the community who are not affiliated with the university to occupy parts of our campus.

The university has maintained a calm and measured approach to the encampment, and we have been consistent in signalling our intention to continue to do so while it remains peaceful. I am concerned that these recent activities are challenging people’s sense of physical safety and security and have potential to silence the complex and difficult conversations that we should be having. These activities have been perpetrated or enabled by members of the encampment. These same members have been unwilling to engage in a productive dialogue with the university or to participate in processes intended to address some of the topics they advocate for, such as responsible investing.

Let me be very clear that while we have not sanctioned students, staff or faculty based on their participation in the encampment, those who damage property, threaten individuals, harass, hinder or prevent people from going about their business, or violate other applicable university policies, will be sanctioned under the relevant policies of the university. People committing illegal acts can be arrested and banned from campus.

The university is prepared to take necessary steps to protect the safety of all members of the university community.

The university continues to welcome dialogue towards a conclusion of the encampment.

I want to end by reminding everyone to treat each other with respect, patience and empathy. We are all doing our best during very difficult times.

Sincerely,

Kevin Hall
President and Vice-Chancellor


Updated May 14, 2024, 4:30 p.m.

Earlier today, a man entered First Peoples House and threatened people with a knife. Police and Campus Security responded quickly and the suspect was arrested.

This incident occurred near the Palestine Solidarity Encampment on the Quad. However, it is not yet known if the suspect was associated with the encampment.

An individual matching the suspect’s description set up a tent near First Peoples House overnight on May 13. This individual is not affiliated with the university and concerns were raised about their well-being and their ability to access appropriate supports. At the time of today’s police incident, steps were already underway to issue a notice of trespass and remove this person from campus.

We believe in our community’s right to peaceful protest. Unfortunately, in some cases, demonstrations on the scale of the current encampment can draw other, more challenging behaviours to our campus. The university is taking these developments very seriously and is exploring options.

We understand that events like these can be very impactful. Please know that there are resources and supports available


Updated May 10, 2024, 10 a.m.

Message from President Hall

Dear students, staff and faculty,

I would like to begin by recognizing the difficult discussions taking place on our campus in response to the Palestine Solidarity Encampment on the Quad. What we are experiencing on campus is a reflection of deep societal divisions and the challenges emerging because of the severity, volatility and complexity of the current circumstance. The evolving situation and our responses to it are set to leave a lasting impact on this current cohort of students, and the staff and faculty at our university.

Demonstrations and the encampment

The university absolutely supports peaceful demonstrations and the right to freedom of expression. Universities have always been a place for free speech—where students, staff and faculty can debate ideas. We encourage thoughtful, reasoned and respectful academic discourse on issues and maintain that these discussions must take place in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and hate speech of any kind.

UVic upholds the rights of members of our university community to non-violent self-expression and we acknowledge the genuine distress many are feeling. University leaders recognize our duty to our students to ensure our university is a space where we can all effectively engage with complex issues.

Challenges with misinformation and communication

The reality of our current challenge is marked by its complexity and unpredictability, conflicting and incomplete information. As an educational institution and community, we commit ourselves to critical thought and to seeking evidence and data to support our conclusions. We must be careful that misinformation, speculation and interpretation on social media related to the encampment don’t obscure the university's commitment to working toward a good resolution.

For example, there have been accusations that the university has set up surveillance cameras on the roof of the Mearns Centre for Learning – McPherson Library—we have not.

It is true that members of the encampment have been assaulted over the last days. The accounts of the response from campus security and the Saanich and Oak Bay Police departments however are inaccurate. Violence is completely unacceptable, and we will work with our policing partners and members of our community to ensure appropriate response to any such action on our campus. In relation to this specific incident, we have restricted the individual from campus, and they can be arrested by police if they return.

Over the last ten days I have heard from members of our community sharing diverse and frequently conflicting views on how they would like us to be responding. The university tries to maintain a balance that supports an open and accessible campus with space for free expression and challenging conversations, while also respecting the safety and security needs of the UVic community.

Demands from the Palestine Solidarity Encampment

We are committed to open and constructive dialogue; however, the university cannot agree to demands or ultimatums from any group.

Encampment organizers have shared a series of demands for the university, including divestment from companies that contribute to and benefit from violence against Palestinians. Given this, we would like to share some information about our investments. We feel it is important that we build a shared understanding of UVic’s investments and our approach to responsible investing.

In January 2020, the Board of Governors approved an updated Responsible Investment Policy that was focused on how the university could take meaningful steps to address climate change within its investment portfolio. The policy changes reflected feedback from a comprehensive consultation process that included students, faculty, staff, the UVSS, GSS and interested stakeholders such as Divest UVic.

As part of our goal to “use working capital investments to address the physical and transitional risk and opportunities of climate change” in 2020, the university moved funds into the BlackRock Global Renewable Power Fund III.

This fund was chosen as it was one of the few available at that time that aligned with our impact investment objectives. Our investment is not in BlackRock - it is in a fund that BlackRock manages. This fund invests in solar and wind renewable power generation projects globally. This fund is a closed fund which means once invested, you are locked in until the fund winds up.

When it was approved by the Board in 2020, the revised Responsible Investment Policy was set to be reviewed in four years to provide an opportunity to ensure that the changes made were still appropriate, that they reflected best practice and to provide an opportunity to re-engage members of our community.

The process for renewal of this policy is underway and we have had initial dialogue with students and are committed to working with student groups to design an appropriate engagement strategy.

We have invited the students from the Palestine Solidarity Encampment to join this discussion which at this point they have refused.

Some other items that are being mischaracterized are also worth highlighting.

  • We have been disclosing the investments of the university since 2018.
  • We report annually on our investments using our fiscal year end of March 31. The most recent information posted on the website is from March 31, 2023. The new information current to March 2024 will be posted soon.
  • We no longer own a Scotiabank bond.
  • We are not invested in Thyssenkrupp, they lease space through UVic Properties, an entity established by the university that manages the Vancouver Island Technology Park. The lease is for 5 years.

Commitment

We remain committed to actively engaging with concerned students, faculty and staff. We will continue drawing insights from the successes and failures of other institutions with the goal to support peaceful expression among our community. Moreover, we expect our university leaders to navigate this tense and difficult period with empathy and discernment.

We are committed to continuing to respond in a calm and thoughtful manner, striving to understand and address the widely diverse needs and viewpoints within our community.

I ask that everyone find the necessary patience and empathy for each other and remember that we are all doing our best during very difficult times.

Yours sincerely,
Kevin Hall, President and Vice-Chancellor


Updated May 9, 2024, 4:45 p.m.

Safety

On the evening May 7, members of the encampment reached out to Campus Security to ask for their support with an unwelcome and aggressive individual in the vicinity of the encampment. The individual assaulted members of the encampment. Campus Security and Saanich Police attended and the individual was escorted off campus and is restricted from re-entering the property. This individual is not affiliated with the university.

We take the safety of our community very seriously. The actions of this individual are completely unacceptable and the university will not tolerate assault or other criminal activity taking place on campus. The university has taken to steps to ensure that if the individual appears on campus again, they can be arrested.

If you have concerns for your personal safety—both inside and out of the encampment—we encourage you to contact Campus Security.

Graffiti and vandalism

We are also aware of recent graffiti and vandalism on our campus. Unfortunately, graffiti and vandalism are common occurrences on university campuses. Acts of graffiti and vandalism are not acceptable behaviours on our campus and are governed by our university policies and are against the law. As has always been the case, those caught vandalising university property may be subject to sanctions according to University policy or charged under the Criminal Code of Canada.

The university works as quickly as possible to remove graffiti when it occurs on our campus. If you spot graffiti, please reach out to Campus Security.


Updated May 8, 2024, 11:00 a.m.

We welcomed many students to campus this week for the start of Summer Term. In order to minimize disruption and support student success, the majority of UVic buildings return to normal access during regular hours today.As a normal practice, buildings are locked at night. 

We’ll continue to manage access to McPherson Library, Elliot Lab Wing, Bob Wright Centre, Petch and Cunningham buildings, with only front entrances open during regular business hours. If you have mobility or other accessibility concerns and require assistance to enter these buildings at an alternate access point, please contact Campus Security at 250-721-7599.

FAQs

We've heard many questions and concerns from our community since the encampment was established on May 1. We have developed a series of FAQs and will continue to add to these as necessary. 

If you have questions that are not answered in our FAQs, please reach out to encampment@uvic.ca.


Updated May 6, 2024, 3:00 p.m.

It is important to remember that campus is open. Campus life continues and our classrooms, labs and studios remain active spaces of learning, teaching, research and creative activity.

Last Thursday, we celebrated many faculty, researchers and grad students at the Reach Awards. This was a special night for many members of our community.

Today is the start of our summer term. We are excited to welcome a new cohort of students and to welcome back many current students. 

Reminder about policy and expectations for key holders and card access holders

Over the weekend, multiple incidents were reported where non-key holders had gained access to secured buildings. In one of these cases, the secured fire doors had been propped open and left unsecured. As a reminder to all key holders, the responsibilities outlined in the Key and Access Card Control Policy (BP3125) include the responsibility to maintain safe working and learning environments for all, including the protection of university assets. As a key holder, you have responsibilities that help to ensure our indoor spaces and assets remain secure and safe.

Dialogue

Since our last update on Friday, we have been in contact with members of the Palestine Solidarity encampment to engage in a dialogue. The university has had ongoing conversations with students about the Responsible Investment Policy of the university and divestment. Continuing to include student voices in the discussion is vital. 

We need to maintain safety for all members of our community—on all sides of this complex issue—and we will continue to reach out to members of our community to offer support and understanding.

Questions/concerns

If you are feeling impacted by the encampment, have concerns about your safety, or just need someone to talk to, a range of supports and services are available.

If you have questions or concerns about how this encampment might impact you, please contact encampment@uvic.ca.


Updated May 3, 2024, 3:30 p.m.

The UVic campus remains open and safe. We are looking forward to welcoming students, staff and faculty for the summer term, starting on May 6.

Open to dialogue

In an email, the university has reached out to welcome a dialogue with student representatives involved with the Palestine Solidarity Encampment. Divestment has been an ongoing discussion at our university and including student voices remains a priority. The university welcomes students in the encampment to join the broader conversation at UVic regarding divestment.

The university also reminded the encampment participants that all activities must remain safe and respectful. This includes ensuring an environment free from intimidation, discrimination, harassment and hate speech of any kind.

Ensuring a safe campus

You may continue to see security and police presence on campus while this situation continues to evolve. Saanich Police are working closely with Campus Security to help keep the campus community – including those within the encampment – safe, which includes medical support and other health and safety concerns.

Earlier today, representatives from Saanich Fire – Fire Prevention, and Oak Bay Fire did a walk-through of the encampment to check fire-safety-related conditions and to provide instruction on any required changes to remove risk for health and safety and to ensure clear pathways. We acknowledge that those in the encampment have been peaceful and complied with the request for this safety check. The safety of everyone remains our top priority.

Building access

Access to some buildings is being more closely managed at this time. This may include access being limited to main entrances with secondary entrances being locked. We encourage students, staff and faculty to keep their OneCards or other identification handy.

If you have mobility or other accessibility concerns and require assistance to enter a building at an alternate access point, please contact Campus Security at 250-721-7599.

As previously mentioned, many buildings will have reduced access between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. Students, staff and faculty with keys can access buildings during these hours as they normally would. Conference organizers or groups who have booked space on campus during the evening or weekends can contact Campus Security if they have questions or require after-hours assistance.

We are committed to working with members of the UVic community participating in the encampment and are hopeful that we can engage in a productive dialogue and reach a peaceful resolution.


Updated May 2, 2024, 1:45 p.m.

We have observed that the demonstration on the UVic quad evolved overnight to an encampment. Participants appear to include UVic students and members of our broader community.

While the university has not yet received any direct communication from participants, we are open to dialogue. We are hopeful that we can continue the productive dialogue we have begun on the topic of divestment.

We actively support peaceful demonstrations on our campus and the right to freedom of expression. We expect all activities on campus to stay within the parameters of university policies and the law.

Erecting tents, temporary structures and overnight encampments are prohibited by university policy. Protests must not disrupt university operations or interfere with students, staff and faculty.

The safety of our university community remains our highest priority. Operations are continuing on campus and we are working to minimize disruptions and keep our community, our buildings and our campus safe. To this end, many campus buildings will be closed daily from 5 p.m. – 7 a.m. and some entrances will remain locked throughout the day. We thank everyone for your patience and understanding.

If you have questions or concerns about how this encampment might impact you, please contact encampment@uvic.ca.


May 1, 2024

We are aware that there is a demonstration taking place on the quad.  

The safety of our students, staff, faculty and community is our top priority. We are taking a calm and thoughtful approach to this demonstration and will work to minimize disruptions.

The university supports peaceful demonstrations and the right to freedom of expression. Universities have always been a place for free speech--where students, staff and faculty can debate ideas. We encourage thoughtful, reasoned and academic discourse on current issues and maintain that these discussions must take place in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and hate speech of any kind. Additionally, activities on our campus must align with UVic’s institutional policies.

Out of an abundance of caution, Campus Security may be monitoring access to buildings near the demonstration and may ask people for information prior to entering these buildings. Campus Security is liaising with Saanich and Oak Bay police to support a safe and inclusive environment.

Thank you for your patience as we monitor this situation. We will provide further updates as required on this page.

We understand that events like these can impact members of our community in different ways. We encourage everyone to show kindness and compassion for one another. To this end, there are a range of supports and services available should you need them.

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