The Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario continues to affirm our solidarity with the Palestinian people and their struggle for self-determination. The Palestinian people have been experiencing settler-colonialism, apartheid, occupation, and genocide for over 75 years. Over 200 days have passed since the Zionist occupation unleashed a brutal genocidal campaign against the people of Palestine. In response, students have bravely escalated the struggle for justice by launching encampments across the province at the University of Toronto, McMaster University, Ontario Tech University, University of Ottawa, University of Guelph, University of Waterloo, University of Windsor, and Western University. Students across the province are calling on their administrations to immediately divest from genocide and the war machine. This is the power of the student movement.

As students bravely organize against genocide, they have been met with repression and stall tactics by their administrations. It is clear that the college and university administration continue to engage in bad faith with student organizers, resorting to the use of state violence and the launching of committees and roundtables as an alternative to meeting student goals of divestment. The Federation vehemently condemns such tactics that college and university administrations across the province have and continue to use to dismantle student encampments, to silence students who are calling the administration to divest, disclose, and cut ties with all forms of investments and relationships to the Israeli apartheid state.

At the University of Toronto, the People’s Circle for Palestine has been established by students and supported by campus solidarity partners to pressure the administration to listen and accept the demands of students. In the most recent threat of repression, made by Meric Gertler – President from the University of Toronto, he has shown that the administration is not willing to listen to nor support students and would rather punish students with threats of potential escalated state violence. The administration must rescind the ultimatum that they have given students and must immediately meet the demands of students.

“The use of any force and surveillance from the police and campus security interventions on students who have been engaged at encampments and rallies has been a clear indication that since day one, the administration has been disingenuous about student safety,” said Adaeze Mbalaja, Chairperson of the Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario.

This moment of student organizing serves as an additional reminder that colleges and universities rely on students’ tuition fees. Student tuition fees fund the majority of post-secondary education, yet students have no control over or democratic decision-making at their institutions. The connection between the high-cost of tuition fees and the institution’s investments in weapons manufacturing, shows that institutions are operating more like private corporations rather than a public institution for education where they are intentionally prioritizing profit over people-namely students, faculty, and staff-during this ongoing Israeli occupation, apartheid and genocide.

The Federation upholds and amplifies the following calls and demands of students across the province and so-called Canada:

  1. Disclose any and all investments that are linked to the Zionist entity and increased transparency on how colleges and universities endowments are spent.
  2. Divest from all corporations and partnerships that contribute to the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
  3. Defend the student autonomy and rights to organize as students partake in Palestinian solidarity activism.
  4. Denounce the ongoing genocide and occupation of Palestine and condemn the use of state violence to intimidate and repress pro-Palestinian students, faculty, staff and community members.

We call on all college and university administrations to immediately meet the demands of student organizers across the province: disclose, divest, and end all ties with investments that are complicit in the ongoing genocide.

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario is the oldest and largest student organization in Ontario, representing over 350,000 college and university students in every region of the province.