Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

York University has issued a warning: if the institution’s student unions do not recant or sufficiently defend their collective statement on the Israel-Hamas conflict, they will risk losing their relationship with the university.

The university’s statement, released to the public on Friday, addressed the “serious and ongoing harms caused by [the groups’] statement,” which declares “solidarity with the Palestinian people” against “the settler-colonial apartheid state of so-called Israel.”

The student unions’ statement referred to the Oct. 7 attack on the Israelis as “a strong act of resistance.”

“Since 1948, Palestinian people have been systemically displaced from their land and homes as a result of state-sanctioned violence, siege, and genocide,” reads the Oct. 12 statement in part. “Our Unions remain unwavering in our support of the Palestinian people’s fight for self-determination and liberation.”

Furthermore, the student-funded groups lashed out at Israel for its air strikes on Gaza, saying they came in response to “Palestinian resistance.”

In its statement, York University said the unions must retract the statement, issue an apology, acknowledge the impact of the statement on campus, and remove all union executives by 5 p.m. on Oct. 25.

Alternatively, the university said the student unions can challenge the assertion that the statement breached York’s Regulation Regarding Student Organizations by the same deadline.

If it’s determined the statement did break the school’s anti-harassment policy, York said it could impose sanctions, the most severe of which would be cutting ties with the offending union.

“The University is deeply disappointed that this step is now required, but we are compelled to uphold University policies and to act in the best interests of the York community, including those of the student unions and their memberships,” said administrators for York in the statement.

The Jewish Campus Coalition previously condemned the statement from the student unions, calling the remarks “blatantly prejudiced” and demonstrating “an extreme and deliberate disregard for not only Jewish but all students affected by the horrible tragedies that have been and continue to occur.”

Neither the York Federation of Students, York University Graduate Student Association nor Glendon College Student Union have recanted the statement.

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