Editor's note: Hillel BC said an independent contractor distributed “offensive” stickers on campus, according to an Instagram post. Hillel BC wrote it has terminated its relationship with the contractor. Read updated coverage here.
The UBC Social Justice Centre (SJC) has repeatedly stated they did not create "dangerous" stickers featuring their logo that circulated on social media Friday and Saturday.
“The UBC Social Justice Center has nothing to do with the formation or distribution of these dangerous stickers,” a statement the SJC posted to X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday reads. “We have never, and would never, promote or condone such messages - they do not reflect our values.”
The stickers feature the message “I (heart) Hamas” followed by an attribution to the SJC, an AMS resource group. Within the red heart on the sticker is a depiction of the Goddess of Democracy statue constructed in Tiananmen Square in 1989 — which is a component of the SJC’s official logo.
Photographs of the stickers were posted on Instagram Friday afternoon, where a user tagged the SJC. The SJC then took a screenshot and issued a statement on that platform in the form of a two-part story denying any involvement.
In a Saturday statement, the group wrote that they are demanding “the AMS conduct a thorough investigation.” The Ubyssey has contacted the AMS and the SJC but has not yet received a response to its questions.
The statement repeated that the stickers stand at odds with the organization’s values and said they are concerned the campaign “will fuel an already incendiary environment and jeopardize student safety.”
No individual or organization has taken responsibility for the stickers.
Another story post sought information on who may be responsible and alleged Zionist groups might have produced the stickers to "target" the SJC.
“The targeting of pro-Palestine advocates needs to stop," the SJC wrote.
Please read below. pic.twitter.com/htCr83Lbko— UBC Social Justice Centre (@SJC_UBC) November 19, 2023
The SJC’s initial statement on X, a version of what was posted on Instagram the previous day, was first issued as a reply to an X post with a photo of the stickers from Angelo Isidorou, former director of the UBC Free Speech Club and current executive director of the BC Conservative Party.
The apparent disinformation about the SJC’s stance comes amid rising tensions on campuses across Canada since Hamas’ October 7 attack from the Gaza Strip — which killed approximately 1,200 Israelis and took around 240 hostages. Since then, Israel has launched an invasion of the Gaza Strip that has killed over 11,000 Palestinians — one in every 200 people in Gaza.
In the weeks since Hamas’ initial attack, several protests have been held and responses have been issued at UBC. Jewish, Muslim, and Arab students have described the university environment as increasingly unsafe as antisemitism and Islamophobia surge nationwide.
The Saturday statement further denounced the stickers’ attribution to the group.
“This defamation campaign is an unfortunate attempt to tarnish the reputation of the SJC and undercut our advocacy against the Israeli state’s ongoing genocide in Gaza. This disturbing tactic is not only Islamophobic, but is also part of a larger, coordinated assault on Palestine advocacy across North America.”
Impression counts show posts on X associating the SJC with the stickers have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times as of Saturday evening with hundreds of reposts.
The SJC has also received messages of support from notable scholars and activists on X, including Harsha Walia and Naomi Klein.
This article was edited at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 19 to clarify the sequence of SJC's posts.