Update to community June 11, 2024

campus arial

June 11, 2024 - 6:00pm

Dear VIU community,

Last night, the Students for Palestine Committee and the Palestine Solidarity Encampment (PSE) requested a meeting to continue our ongoing dialogue. VIU agreed to meet today, where we shared information and received a commitment from the PSE that their organization would not disrupt convocation ceremonies. VIU welcomed this assurance. We also reaffirmed other commitments and shared investment information that was requested at the previous meeting. We want to advise the VIU community that the investment information that was shared is available on the budget website

However, we are disappointed to report that, concurrent with our meeting, a group of approximately a dozen protesters unlawfully gained entry into the Office of Provost and VP Academic, which is a secure area on campus requiring employee card access.

Upon gaining access, the protesters indicated their support for the PSE demands to the VIU employees present. The VIU employees in the area had to be escorted from their offices by security. 

The protestors were advised that they were trespassing in a secure area and were asked to leave on at least six separate occasions. They were also warned that if they refused to leave VIU would have no choice but to involve the RCMP. RCMP attended but did not interact with the protestors who left the space through an open window. The incident lasted more than two hours and our response demonstrated the effectiveness of our security planning and resources. 

VIU remains committed to supporting peaceful protest and the rights to freedom of expression and assembly. However, actions that breach university policies, disrupt the safety and security of our staff, and violate private and secure areas cannot be condoned. We continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of our entire campus community. We will take necessary steps, including engaging the appropriate authorities, to ensure a secure and respectful environment for our employees and students, including those who wish to exercise their right to peacefully and lawfully protest. 

We urge all involved to adhere to VIU’s policies and to participate in constructive and respectful forms of advocacy. VIU remains dedicated to fostering a safe, inclusive and supportive campus where all voices can be heard in a manner that respects the rights and safety of our entire community.

We have communicated to the employees in the impacted areas the supports that are available to them. Finally, we know that demonstrations like this can impact people in different ways. We encourage members of our community to reach out for support if they feel they need it. Support, counselling and wellness information for employees can be found on our Employee and Family Assistance Program homepage. Supports for students including counselling, wellness and information for students in distress can be found on the VIU Counselling website

We will continue to update the campus community.

Tags: Announcements

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