Western University reaffirms expectations for protests on campus

The encampment protest at Western University is into its sixth day, after being re-established last Wednesday.

The protest is in support of those impacted by the conflict in Gaza.

The number of tents in front of the University Community Centre continues to grow, with a row of pop-up tents lining the landing in front of a grassy area where most of the protesters are located.

The demonstrators are asking Western University officials to declare all investments tied to Israel, and to divest from companies linked to Israel or who manufacture military hardware being used in the conflict.

While the university said it remains committed to free speech, Western has also reaffirmed its expectations for a peaceful protest. Over the weekend, the university posted expectations for a peaceful protest on its website and shared them on social media.

There are 18 bullet-point items on the lists, including a prohibition on temporary or permanent structures, with the tents an apparent contravention of that edict.

The points also include a prohibition on sleeping overnight on campus, other than in permitted residences or apartments.

Western also bans attaching banners, posters or signs to university property.

Fire, flames, heaters or appliances with open flames are not permitted, including those using propane or other fuel sources.

A propane heater is used at an encampment at Western University, running counter to protest expectations identified by Western University. May 13, 2024. (

At least one propane heater was clearly visible at the encampment Monday morning and other propane tanks are at the site.

In a statement issued late Monday afternoon, Western Vice-Provost (students) John Doerksen said the university has “increasing concerns about the safety within and surrounding the space participants are utilizing unlawfully.”

Doerksen said the encampment – which is now in its sixth day – is growing, and the majority of participants do not appear to be Western students.

“We managed several safety risks over the weekend and those on site demonstrated decreased willingness to work with us and communicate productively,” he said. “Some participants have become more confrontational, making respectful dialogue difficult.”

Doerksen said special constables continue to be on site to monitor the situation and are working closely with London Police Service.

“In the meantime, we have invited student leaders from the original protest to meet with senior administration so that we can hear from them directly,” he added. 

On Friday, a spokesperson for the demonstrators said they wouldn’t have further comment until there are discussions with university representatives. 

western encampment may 2024 1 6884981 1715619876803A sign identifies the ‘Four Ds’ demonstrators prioritized as part of their protest at Western University. May 12, 2024. (Gerry Dewan/CTV News London)

https://london.ctvnews.ca/decreased-willingness-to-work-with-us-western-officials-reaffirm-expectations-for-campus-protests-1.6884952

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