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McGill University on consequences for students, divesting after pro-Palestinian camp dismantled


McGill University says it hasn't ruled out expelling any students involved in the pro-Palestinian encampment on its campus after it was forcefully dismantled on Wednesday.

"We've seen intimidation, harassment, damage to property, we've seen an occupation of the building, we've seen clashes with the police," said Fabrice Labeau, McGill University vice president of administration and finance. "One of our security guards was assaulted, so this was a pretty bad situation that was getting worse."

He states that "most of the people" camping out on the lower field were not McGill students, and consequences will be doled out on a case-by-case basis.

"The kind of consequences they face can go up to expulsion," Labeau said. "But again, it depends on each case and the facts of each case."

The university reiterates that it moved forward with the dismantlement simply because the camp was on private property.

"We wanted to act and take the matter in our own hands," Labeau tells CTV News. "That's why we hired a private security firm to do that for us."

He adds that it went "as well as could be expected" as "most of the individuals who were there left on their own accord."

Divesting: Is it complicated?

Though discussions with encampment representatives came to a halt several weeks ago, McGill officials say they haven't closed the door on revisiting their investment policies.

"I think it actually is a complicated discussion because companies that manufacture weapons or systems that are used in weapons also manufacture systems that are used for other peaceful measures," he said. "There's actually a serious discussion to be had there. I realized that when you say it, it sounds like a very simple statement."

Labeau insists that the university plans to consult "with our community" in the coming weeks and months to determine how they want to move forward, and they plan to come up with a recommendation by December.

Taking down the encampment, Labeau states, was a first step to "restoring a healthy climate on our campus."

"If any other encampment or tentative encampment would come back, we would again assert our property rights then proceed to dismantle," he tells CTV News, insisting the goal was not to deter freedom of expression. "We want to make sure that we go back to a campus where people can express themselves, discuss complicated topics, complex topics, in a civilized way."

Campus partially reopened

McGill's downtown campus partially reopened Thursday following the dismantlement.

"The encampment has been dismantled," the school wrote on its Facebook page on Wednesday afternoon. "Due to current weather conditions, the clean-up at the site will continue tomorrow [Thursday], as will the excavation and replacement of contaminated soil on the site."

The following buildings remain closed:

  • Burnside Hall
  • Dawson Hall
  • Ferrier
  • Frank Dawson Adams
  • James Administration
  • Leacock
  • Macdonald Engineering
  • Macdonald Harrington
  • McCall MacBain Arts
  • McConnell Engineering
  • McLennan Library
  • Morrice Hall
  • Otto Maass
  • Pulp & Paper
  • Redpath Hall
  • Redpath Library
  • Redpath Museum
  • Schulich Library

"Those who would normally access these buildings must stay home," the university writes on its website. "Classes typically held in these buildings will move online. We ask instructors to please notify their students immediately."

Faculty and staff are also encouraged to stay home if possible.

All other downtown buildings, including daycares, are open. Top Stories

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