YUFA demands that York University and Toronto Police respect freedom of assembly and political speech on the York University Campus

Police have dismantled a student encampment on the Common at the Keele Campus of York University which was set up on June 5, 2024. In contrast to other universities in Ontario and Quebec, where courts have ruled that student protests on university campuses should be allowed. In order to protect political rights and freedom of expression, York University’s administration states that unauthorized use of campus grounds is a violation of university policies and that encampments or occupations are not permitted.

However, York University is a public institution and its campuses are public. YUFA supports students’ rights to demonstrate on campus and peacefully express their political views, free of threats, violence, and intimidation. Police interventions on campus are unwelcome, unneeded, and directly opposed to the university’s academic goals of fostering respect for diverse perspectives in the context of educational exploration and growth.

We are appalled by the York University administration’s resort to repression rather than discussion in this instance, and call on the administration and the police to model respectful speech rather than violent force.