UBC Palestinian solidarity encampment voluntarily ends after two months

On April 29, protesters started an encampment to demand UBC cut ties with companies and Israeli universities complicit in Palestinian human rights abuses.

The MacInnes Field Palestinian solidarity encampment ended on July 7 after more than two months.

Organized by People’s University UBC, the encampment began on April 29 to demand UBC divest from companies complicit in Palestinian human rights abuses, boycott Israeli universities and institutions and publicly condemn what organizers and human rights experts call a genocide in Gaza.

According to a report issued by a United Nations-appointed independent expert, there are “reasonable grounds” to believe Israel is committing genocide in Gaza.

On May 16 at Parliament Hill, UBC President Benoit-Antoine Bacon said the university does not support the boycott, divest and sanction movement which advocates for removing economic support for Israel. On June 1, the UBC Vancouver Senate failed a motion to cut academic ties with Israeli universities.

Since the encampment’s start, protestors organized marches, sit-ins and vigils calling on UBC to meet organizers’ demands. There have been two encampment-related arrests, both for mischief.

This decampment comes after UBC Okanagan’s decampment on June 29. Only two encampments remain in BC at Vancouver Island University and UVic.

On X (formerly Twitter) at 7:29 p.m. on July 8, People’s University UBC announced the group voluntarily decamped.

In a statement released on July 8 at 11:23 p.m. on X, organizers wrote they are “advanc[ing] into the next stage of our strategy towards divestment” and reaffirmed its “commitment to escalate until the battle for divestment is won.”

“We will not stop. We will not rest. UBC will divest,” wrote People’s University UBC.

UBC spokesperson Clare Hamilton-Eddy wrote in a statement that “UBC remains committed to respectful dialogue with student protesters.”

People’s University UBC did not respond to The Ubyssey’s request for comment by press time.

A lone table sits on the MacInnes Field.
A lone table sits on the MacInnes Field. Emilija Vītols Harrison / The Ubyssey