Message from the President: Campus protest

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Dear members of the UBC community,

The violence unfolding in Israel and Palestine continues to evoke complex emotions around the world, and many in our diverse community are deeply affected. The grief and suffering we all witness and feel is heartbreaking.

As you are aware, about a week ago a protest began at MacInnes Field on the Vancouver campus and is ongoing. There are currently about 75 tents and 100 people at the site. This protest is part of a broader movement that started in the United States and has now spread to Canada. Students are looking at a world in crisis and at their core, the campus protests are seeking the end of violence in Israel and Palestine.

UBC deeply values freedom of expression and respects its corollary of peaceful protest. We are actively monitoring the situation and prioritizing the safety of all our community members and visitors to campus. We have made clear the university’s expectations of the protestors at MacInnes Field. I want to stress again that protest actions must be conducted with respect for others and within the boundaries of UBC policy and the law and any action that contravenes this will be taken very seriously.

At this time of heightened tensions, we ask that anyone engaging in expressing views about the conflict be exceptionally careful in the way in which their views are articulated. We encourage everyone to maintain respectful dialogue when discussing these complex issues. It is absolutely essential that the university remains a place of reasoned debate where conflicting views can peacefully co-exist. Our academic and social mission depends on it.

One issue that has been raised across North America is the call for divestments. At UBC, the Endowment Fund does not directly own any stocks in the companies identified by the movement. Capital is held in pooled funds and managed by external investment managers, with the identified companies accounting for about 0.28% of the Endowment Fund.

As signatories to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI), the university’s investment managers are continuously adjusting their strategies based on the integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations. We would welcome a respectful and robust discussion with student representatives from UBC on this issue.

Benoit-Antoine Bacon
President and Vice-Chancellor

Below you can read earlier messages related to the protest:

This message was sent to faculty, staff and students in Vancouver and the Okanagan.

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