Encampment at University of Guelph to end July 15, protesters say amid threat of legal action

The people staying in a weeks-long encampment on the University of Guelph campus say they will voluntarily dismantle it by July 15.

The group UofG For Palestine posted to Instagram that its timeline allows everyone to leave safely.

It comes after the university administration issued a legal trespass notice to the protesters on Monday. The same day, group members told CBC News they had no plans to leave.

"We will be leaving on our own timeline, in the wake of university administration's blatant threats of police violence towards their own students and workers for participating in this encampment," the group said in the Instagram post Monday afternoon.

Leaving by July 15 means they can do so "with respect for the land where we are gathered" and without wasting encampment materials, the group said. Items from the encampment "will be donated to those suffering from the housing crisis in Guelph."

The encampment, which was dubbed the People's Plaza for Palestine, was first set up on campus on May 21. Similar to encampments at other college and university campuses in Canada and the U.S., the protesters were calling for the university to divest of any companies that were benefiting financially from the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza that began last October.

Court orders sought by other universities

Over the weekend, university administration asked the protesters to dismantle the encampment and leave by 7 p.m. ET Sunday.

On Monday, the university said it would seek an injunction order, similar to ones sought by the University of Toronto and the University of Waterloo.

The University of Toronto's injunction was granted by a judge, meaning the encampment on campus had to be ended. The protesters at the University of Waterloo entered mediation talks with administration and chose to end their encampment on Sunday voluntarily.

In a statement Tuesday, University of Guelph president Charlotte Yates said the school has decided to pause any legal action "provided the encampment has disbanded and vacated by 9 a.m. on Monday, July 15, without incident."

"We are extending this deadline as a gesture of good faith that the encampment will disband, not return, and all activities this week and beyond will be lawful and in accordance with university policies. If these conditions are not met or disruptions to university operations continue, the university will proceed with legal action."

The University of Guelph also said the camp's demands to divest are currently being considered by an ad-hoc committee at the university.