UVic pauses talks with protesters after 2 shutdowns at campus Starbucks

UVic pauses talks with protesters after 2 shutdowns at campus Starbucks
People's Park UVic/Instagram
The protest outside the Starbucks at UVic on Tuesday.

The University of Victoria says it’s pausing talks with pro-Palestine protesters that have built an encampment on campus following two protests at the campus Starbucks, and at a high-school graduation ceremony at the school this week.

The first protest at the campus Starbucks occurred on June 2, and resulted in the business temporarily shutting down.

Protesters went inside the coffee shop dressed in white robes with red, blood-like stains on them and laid on the ground. Protesters then started chanting and making speeches while customers cleared out.

A second protest occurred just two days later on June 4, and featured masked protesters chanting, drumming and putting red handprints on the front doors of the business, as well as red-stained sacks.

A line of customers are also seen leaving the Starbucks as the protest occurs.

Story continues below


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by People’s Park UVIC (@peoplesparkuvic)

The university and organizers of the People’s Park UVic held conversations on Friday, and the school says it left those talks with “cautious optimism.” However the recent protests, including at a high-school graduation ceremony at the Jamie Cassels Centre, has the university pulling back.

“These actions have made many members of the university and broader community feel unsafe,” said UVic in a statement Tuesday. “For this reason, we do not feel that constructive and productive conversations with People’s Park UVic are possible or in the best interest of our broader campus community at this time.”

The school says it has sent a letter to the encampment calling for an immediate refrain from all vandalism, harassment and “demonstrations or activities that disrupt campus operations.”

The school says it expects a confirmation in writing before it will resume talks with the encampment, which had listed five demands for the school, such as divesting from several companies that protesters say support Israel’s military, and cutting ties with all Israeli universities.

“We know that many individuals in the encampment are also members of the campus community and have expressed their passionate beliefs about the atrocities happening in Gaza. We join them in calling for an urgent cessation of violence against all civilians,” said the school.

“However, these beliefs do not give anyone permission to commit acts of vandalism or infringe on the rights of others on our campus.”

It’s been over a month since the encampment formed at UVic on May 1. Since then, some pro-Palestine encampments that have popped up at other universities have faced stiff resistance from their schools, while two in Alberta were taken down by police.

With files from CHEK’s Tchadas Leo


Adam ChanAdam Chan

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!