University of Waterloo sues pro-Palestinian encampment for $1.5M

The University of Waterloo is suing the participants and organizers of the pro-Palestinian encampment on its main campus for $1.5 million.

The court document published on the University’s website says the school is seeking “damages in the amount of $1,500,000, including damages for trespass, damage to property, intimidation, and ejectment.”

The suit names “persons unknown” and seven specific people by name, and includes their email addresses.

The document calls on the encampment participants to stop camping and never do so again on campus.

Also it directs defendants to restore the school’s property to the way it was on May 12, including removal of all fences, tents, shelters, barriers, rubbish and more.

Participants of the encampment have also been told to stop interfering with the University’s Senate and Board of Governors meetings, and any other school meeting.

The document includes conditions for the court to allow Waterloo Regional Police, the Ontario Provincial Police, or any police service to remove the encampment and arrest the participants.

A social media post from the encampment says, “Incredibly shameful that @UWaterloo is choosing to sue their own student body protesting their university’s complicity in a genocide that’s 9 months in and has claimed the lives of over 40,000.”

The post goes on to say, “History will absolve us. But you admin, how will you be remembered?”

The encampment has been in place on the lawn outside Graduate House since May 13, with the participants demanding the school disclose and divest from any and all connections to Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has weighed in on UW’s actions with concern, calling the moves alarming.

CAUT, Executive Director, David Robinson told The Mike Farwell Show they find the lawsuit particularly troubling.

“I think it’s clearly an intimidation tactic and quite ironic given this comes just a matter of weeks after the University’s own internal body that was established to look into issues of freedom of expression on campus recommended the institution exercise great restraint.” He said.

Robinson said the CUAT thinks the school needs to tread lightly when it comes to limiting freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

“Any attempt to limit basic fundamental civil liberties has to be justified under a higher bar than what I think the university is claiming so far.”

He says a peaceful solution is out there but it will require discussion rather than legal action.

“It think there has been different kinds of approaches. The ones that seem to work best is when we have dialogue. And, frankly that’s what our institutions are about. They’re about promoting dialogue. They’re not about calling in the police to limit free expression.”

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