McGill University extends new amnesty proposal to anti-Israel protesters

'Yesterday, the university extended an updated offer to members of its community in the encampment, going beyond previous proposals,' the school said Tuesday in a news release.

McGill University extends new proposal—including amnesty—to anti-Israel protesters
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
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McGill University in Montreal extended a new offer to anti-Israel protesters, who have been occupying its downtown campus since April.

The offer said it would include a review of direct equity investments in entities that earn most of their revenues from producing military weapons.

“Yesterday, the university extended an updated offer to members of its community in the encampment, going beyond previous proposals,” the school said Tuesday in a news release.

“This continued effort to reach a peaceful resolution to the encampment, which has been in place on the lower field for over six weeks, comes in addition to the university’s renewed suggestion to appoint a neutral third-party mediator to facilitate discussions," it said, reports Global News.

The university stated it has also agreed to disclose more investments, including those below $500,000, provide support for Palestinian students displaced by the Gaza Strip conflict, and grant disciplinary amnesty to any McGill student or employee involved in the encampment before June 15.

Spokespeople for the encampment were not immediately available for comment, and as of Tuesday afternoon, they had not indicated on social media whether they would accept the offer.

McGill clarified that the offer of amnesty does not extend to those involved in last Thursday's occupation of a McGill University administration building or to anyone committing acts such as property destruction, vandalism, or harassment. Police reported arresting 15 people during that protest.

The offer is the latest attempt by the institution to get protesters to dismantle their encampment after the Quebec Superior Court denied an injunction from McGill to clear the encampment in May.

McGill has since filed another request for an injunction to remove the protesters which remains pending.

Montreal police have stated they do not plan to intervene in the encampment as long as no crimes are being committed, despite the university's previous requests for officers to clear the field.

In the news release, McGill encouraged the protesters, who have previously rejected proposals from the university, to consider the latest offer with the help of a skilled and impartial mediator. The university expressed hope for "a peaceful and satisfactory resolution for all."

The president of McGill University has denounced intimidation tactics by the protesters.

Deep Saini, who started serving as the school's president in April, gave information last month about the university's offer to the protesters.

He told the Gazette that McGill has offered to:

  • Examine “divestment from companies whose revenues largely come from weapons. McGill has an established process that allows any member of the community to bring any concerns about investment before the Board of Governors; we offered to accelerate the timeline for that review and to provide support through that process.”
  • Increase “McGill’s links to scholars and institutions in Gaza and the West Bank, and provide urgent support to displaced students and scholars.”
  • Extend “McGill’s transparency in our investment reporting by publicly listing the companies in which we have equity holdings under $500,000, where that is permitted. The university already provides public reports on equity and fixed income holdings above this threshold.”

Saini said the offer was swiftly rejected.

Saini also said in a statement that masked demonstrators have targeted the homes of school administrators. Additionally, a senior administrator was followed and harassed by masked individuals from the encampment.

He noted graffiti that has appeared on campus “comes very close to, and occasionally crosses, the lines into discriminatory speech.”

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