CAMPUS WATCH: Anti-Israel students demand free tuition, housing and review of Judaism courses
CAMPUS WATCH: Anti-Israel students demand free tuition, housing and review of Judaism courses

Anti-Israel student protesters in Nova Scotia are demanding free tuition and housing, DEI training on “queerness, Indigeneity, and anticolonialism” and a Palestinian-majority council to review Judaism courses.

These are just some of the demands made by student groups from four of the maritime province’s universities. 

Anti-Israel students at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) have issued a list of 12 demands to their institution. Some of the demands are related to the conflict in the Middle East, such as calls for disclosure of investments and divestment from Israel, while other demands are not.

Student activists also want to see the creation of a Palestinian art history course, free tuition and housing, “anti-oppression training” focused on “queerness, Indigeneity, and anticolonialism,” the resignation of the university president and a student takeover of the board of governors.

Student organizers did not respond to a request from True North on what free tuition and housing have to do with the conflict in the Middle East.

Anti-Israel students at Saint Mary’s University are also making several demands that are outside the scope of the current conflict.

In addition to divestment from Israel, students want to see a boycott of “western imperialism” and a council controlled by Palestinians to review courses, including those on Judaism. They also want the resignation of their president and the resignation  of those with “ties to the Israeli project” from the school’s board of governors.

“It is our obligation as students to stand in solidarity with the global student intifada for a free Palestine and for all people globally to be liberated from settler colonialism and western imperialism,” activists said.

Saint Mary’s student activists also did not respond to a request for comment 

Meanwhile, at the University of King’s College, students there have also made demands to their school, which include never flying the Canadian flag again on campus while allowing the Palestinian flag to be flown. 

As for Dalhousie University, students there,  joined by peers from the three other universities, have set up an anti-Israel encampment. The Coast reports that activists have named their encampment site “Al Zeitoun University,” which means “olive” in Arabic.

In a statement posted to social media, student activists called on the four universities “to immediately disclose and divest from any investments that sustain settler-colonial projects, including the Zionist state known as Israel.”

Organizers also said that many of them are “settlers on Mi’kma’ki, the unceded and ancestral territory of the Mi’kmaq people.”

“We have a responsibility to this land, its people, and the treaties,” the students added. “We must forge a relationship that actively fights against the colonial project. We refuse to accept the structural conditions imposed by the system of settler-colonialism in effect to this day.”

In a statement, Dalhousie University  called the encampment “peaceful” and said it is “committed to the safety and well-being of our entire community and, in alignment with our mission as a learning institution, to maintaining open lines of communication through respectful, non-violent dialogue and debate — even, and especially, when those conversations are hard.”

Dalhousie added that they “are monitoring the peaceful protest and engaging with its organizers and participants with those principles in mind.”

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