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The Executive of the Canadian Association for Work and Labour Studies (CAWLS) strongly supports the student encampments advocating for Palestinian rights at universities across Canada and globally.

Students and faculty engaged in these protests are calling for universities to be accountable and to end their investments in and involvement with companies and practices that support the Israeli occupation and apartheid.

Universities in Canada and around the world should be gravely concerned about what UN experts have described as the “systemic obliteration of education through the arrest, detention or killing of teachers, students and staff, and the destruction of educational infrastructure,” that is, the “scholasticide” occurring in Gaza.

The CAWLS executive joins in the call for a permanent ceasefire and an end to the Israeli occupation and siege of Gaza. The CAWLS executive condemns Israeli government policy towards the Palestinian people, but also draws a distinction between Israeli government policy and the wider views of Jewish people around the world regarding Israel’s policies on Palestine.

The CAWLS Executive extends stands in its solidarity towith these students and faculty and opposinges both the actions of the Israeli state and military and those taken by university administrators aimed atthat may discouraginge students and faculty from peacefully protesting and voicing their concerns. These latter actions by university administration prioritize institutional interests over the rights of students and faculty to engage in advocacy and protest.

CAWLS made an early decision to relocate our entire conference to UQAM from McGill campus to avoid crossing the AMPL active picket lines and respect the encampments. We were pleased when UQAM reached an agreement with encampments on that campus proving that such protests can reach peaceful resolution. Please note that the conference program posted for CAWLS on the Congress website is no longer relevant and has been changed since early May. Please visit the CAWLS website: https://cawls.ca/en/home/ for the up-to-date UQAM programme.

Removing encampments with violent means, as has been the case at several Canadian universities, is completely unacceptable. We encourage all CAWLS attendees to express solidarity with the McGill encampments and AMPL and their calls for support during our conference at UQAM.

Again, we urge university administrators to respect the rights of students and faculty to assemble and express their views without fear of reprisal or criminalization. Moreover, we call on university administrations to meaningfully engage with students and faculty about these issues and to critically evaluate their investments and partnerships, to ensure they are not supporting practices inconsistent with human rights and social justice.

Lastly, we wish that FHSS had exercised stronger leadership at McGill this year. Failing to address the concerns of associations and claiming official ‘neutrality’ is not helpful at the current juncture. CAWLS will be considering our future with FHSS and Congress at our upcoming annual general membership meeting.

Solidarity,

CAWLS Executive

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