Anti-Israel encampment blocking fire escape path at University of Guelph results in $20,000 per day

'Until we are in compliance, we have closed access to Zavitz Hall to mitigate risk to our community,' said a statement from the university.

Anti-Israel encampment blocking fire escape path at University of Guelph results in $20,000 fine per day
X / Guelph_Citizen
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The University of Guelph is being fined $20,000 per day for non-compliance as anti-Israel protesters continue to obstruct an evacuation pathway.

The university said in a post to its website that an assessment by Campus Safety, Physical Resources and the Guelph Fire Service found tents set up near the Reynolds Walk are obstructing a vital evacuation pathway.

“This creates an unsafe situation for people exiting the building in the event of a fire and impedes the ability of firefighters to respond,” says the update.

The post continues:

We were hopeful that members of the encampment would voluntarily comply with the requirements to relocate in the interests of safety of those using Zavitz, however, as of this morning members of the encampment have not moved all the tents and personal belongings that are obstructing the evacuation pathway. The University is being fined $20,000 per day for non-compliance.

Until we are in compliance, we have closed access to Zavitz Hall to mitigate risk to our community. We are working with faculty and staff whose roles with the University have been disrupted by this closure to ensure they can continue with as much of their work as possible.

The university says it is working with faculty and staff affected by the closure and will be installing security cameras in the area.

“This information has been communicated with members of the encampment. We are disappointed that the situation has devolved in this way and that disruptions to the operations of the University continue as a result of the encampment,” the university continued.

A statement from the People's Plaza for Palestine held a press conference at 1 p.m. to address the fire safety concerns.

“The People’s Plaza for Palestine remains steadfast in our demands for divestment and will settle for nothing less than a commitment to divestment,” the release stated.

So far, the school has had three face-to-face meetings with the group representing the encampment and discussed the university's proposals.

The group has requested the school disclose its investment holdings. School officials say they're committed to ongoing disclosure of investments and said the first disclosure would be made before year's end.

The university also says it has received a petition from the group prior to the establishment of the encampment requesting divestment.

“This petition immediately triggered the Board of Governors process to review the concerns and make recommendations regarding the management of the endowment portfolio in accordance with the University of Guelph’s Special Action Policy,” the university said.

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