Campus LifeNews

Palestine solidarity encampment given trespassing notices

A spokesperson for the encampment says security delivered two trespassing notices the day the encampment went up. They add the encampment has "not received any outreach from administration."

At 10:00 p.m. on May 9, approximately 80 protestors were in attendance at the Palestine solidarity encampment set up on Main Quad at the University of Alberta. The encampment, which began on May 9, plans to continue until its demands for the U of A and MacEwan University are met.

In a statement circulated on May 9 after 4:00 p.m., U of A President and Vice-chancellor Bill Flanagan said that “university leadership is in open and ongoing communication with this group.” Nour, a spokesperson for the encampment, said “that is not true,” and that they “have not received any outreach from administration.” Nour did not disclose her last name for safety reasons.

Lily Polenchuk Tents set up at the encampment on May 9.

The encampment is organized by People’s University For Palestine YEG, a student-led group. On May 9, they posted their demands on Instagram, which include a disclosure of the universities’ financial investments “with Israeli institutions and all companies financially complicit in the occupation, and thus the current genocide of Palestinians,” and divestment “from complicit companies and all such investments.”

The other demands are amnesty for encampment participants and an “immediate statement of [the universities’] condemnation of this genocide.”

Notice tells protestors that they’re trespassing, outlines possible fines and imprisonment

Around 3:00 p.m. on May 9, the encampment was given a first notice to leave, according to Nour. The notice was delivered from security as a packet.

Palestine solidarity encampment community guidlines
Lily Polenchuk The encampment’s community guidelines, displayed at the sign-in centre.

“Security communicated that they would be coming with first-aid kits and a fire extinguisher,” Nour said. According to the encampment’s community guidelines, protestors can’t engage with police or security.

“Once we denied their gifts, they gave us the third gift, which was the notice to leave.”

According to Nour, security later provided a second notice to the encampment that was a brief version of the first one. Nour provided The Gateway with a physical copy of the second notice.

The notice read that the Main Quad is private property, and anyone present in the area is required to comply with U of A policies, procedures, and the law. It said that overnight presence is “strictly prohibited, as is erecting camping, living, or sleeping structures or equipment.”

Additionally, the notice said that protests, demonstrations, or encampments on the Main Quad require advance written approval from the university. It further read that no authorization was sought, nor does authorization exist for “any demonstration, protest, or encampment of any kind to occur in this area.”

“If you are present and doing so in this area, then you are hereby notified that you are trespassing,” the notice said.

It also said that trespassers could face fines up to $10,000 for the first offence and $25,000 for the second, or imprisonment for a term up to six months, or both. The notice said the trespassing is in contravention of the Alberta Trespass to Premises Act or Petty Trespass Act, or both.

“That basically told us that we are trespassers on the same land that our tuition pays for. On the same land that was stolen from Indigenous people by this institution,” Nour said.

The notice also specified that trespassing students and employees of the U of A “may also be subject to other consequences including discipline in accordance with university policies and procedures.”

After the second notice was delivered, People’s University For Palestine YEG called for an emergency rally.

“We believe that with these numbers, with the support of our community, we will be able to continue,” Nour said. “Our demands still stand, and we stand until our demands are met.”

Lily Polenchuk

Lily Polenchuk is the 2024-25 Editor-in-Chief of The Gateway. She previously served as the 2023-24 Managing Editor, 2023-24 and 2022-23 News Editor, and 2022-23 Staff Reporter. She is in her second year, studying English and political science.

Related Articles

Back to top button