GRSJ Statement in Solidarity with the UBC Student Encampment for Palestine

We, the faculty of The Institute for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice at UBC-Vancouver, strongly and unequivocally support the rights of students to protest Israeli-state violence against civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, which include the occupation and dispossession of land, as well as the debilitation, arrest, and genocide of Palestinian people. We affirm the free speech and assembly rights of all students, faculty, staff, and community members participating in the encampment at UBC, in solidarity with campuses worldwide.

We understand the current UBC student encampment for Palestine within a longer global legacy of student activism against colonialism in Africa and Asia, segregation during the US Civil Rights movement and in line with the Third World Liberation Front, against apartheid in South Africa, against the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, and against colonial dispossession and genocide on unceded Indigenous lands. Many ethnic studies departments in North America were established through such student occupation and protest; indeed, our own unit itself is indebted to this legacy and would not exist without it.

We support the encampment as well as the student calls for UBC to divest from companies complicit in Palestinian human rights abuses, to boycott Israeli universities and institutions, and to publicly condemn the genocide in Gaza.

To date, Israel has bombed and destroyed all eleven universities in Gaza, depriving almost 90,000 students of their rights to an education. We are proud to see our students’ refusal to be silent or complicit in the systematic destruction and total annihilation of education in Palestine, and to stand in solidarity with their peers across the nation and the world. War, genocide, and the funding networks supporting settler colonial violence are inherently social justice issues; they are core concerns in our classes and in our commitments to practice social justice and end settler colonialism. We are thus committed to protecting and defending the rights of our students to apply the knowledges of social justice taught in UBC courses to university events, public avenues, and ongoing activism.

We ask all our colleagues at UBC to join student protestors of the encampment for Palestine in standing for the causes of justice and equality worldwide. We call on the UBC administration to protect student rights to protest and peaceful assembly, and to accept the students’ demands in joining the movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions. Further, we demand that our own Faculty Association break its complicit silence to do its duty of protecting the rights of free speech and assembly and to support the student encampment and their demands for divestment and academic boycott.

This statement was supported by majority of the GRSJ faculty and does not reflect the voice and views of all GRSJ faculty and associates or the official views of the University.