Deal reached to 'peacefully end' encampment at University of Windsor

The University of Windsor says it's reached a deal with students with a pro-Palestinian encampment that began in mid-May, and all tents will be removed from the southwestern Ontario campus within 48 hours.

"This includes peacefully ending the encampment," the school said in a news release.

The school says the deal also includes more anti-racism initiatives, support for students impacted by the crisis in Gaza, "responsible" investing, and annual disclosures of direct and indirect public fund investments.

The agreement also involves boycotting institutional partnerships with Israeli universities until the "right of Palestinian self-determination has been realized."

It's the "most comprehensive and far-reaching" agreement to come out of Canadian encampment negotiations addressing issues like divestment, academic boycott and anti-Palestinian racism, the protesters said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.

Organizers of an encampment on the University of Windsor campus say they are nearing a deal with university administration.
Organizers of the Windsor encampment have signed a deal with the university administration. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC)

The encampment has been in front of the former Dillon Hall since May 13.

Negotiations between the two sides have been going on for four weeks, the group says.

"This deal presents to the students, staff, faculty and community as a whole that the university is willing to take solid steps towards a more transparent and just investment system, and rebuilding Gaza," said Jana Alrifai, a spokesperson for the protest.

"It is a recognition of its past shortcomings and a commitment to betterment. Most importantly, this would have never happened without the fight and steadfastness of the student movement."

Here are some other details in the agreement:

  • The university will establish anti-Palestinian racism training and education, which will be recommended for faculty, staff and students. The training will be mandatory for the leadership team and board of governors.

  • The university has 30 days to set up an anti-oppression website, which will include third-party information and resources on anti-Arab racism, anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia.

  • Students who part of the encampment won't get any academic or employment sanctions for participating in or supporting the encampment.

The protesters will hold a 5 p.m. ET news conference on Wednesday.

Their encampment is among numerous ones set up on Canadian campuses since April, related to the Israel-Hamas war that began in October. Most of the encampments have since come down.

On Wednesday, an encampment at Montreal's McGill University was dismantled as police, some wearing riot gear, and others on bicycles and on horseback, descended near the campus after the university served two eviction notices to protesters.