A video posted to YouTube on Monday, January 27 shows a man apparently entering the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) offices and demanding the removal of posters supporting the Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
“I want this sign down right now because that’s a hate crime. If you don’t remove this sign… I will call the police and charge you guys with hate crime,” the unidentified man is heard saying in the video, which is filmed from a first-person perspective.
The BDS campaign asks the university to cease investment in companies that are allegedly complicit in war crimes in Palestine.
The SCSU approved a motion in April 2013 to lobby the university on behalf of the BDS campaign.
The video was posted by an account called equity472.
An open letter, addressed to the University of Toronto and the University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation (UTAM), is included in the video’s description.
The letter demands divestment from a list of companies and asks, “Why do our tuition dollars continue to fund ‘israel’s’ [sic] colonization and ethnic cleansing of Palestine?”
The letter is signed by “U of T Divest– Scarborough,” but there are no names attached.
The same letter can be found on a post from the Facebook group “Toronto Students for Justice in Palestine.”
It is unclear whether the letter has been sent to the university or to UTAM.
Don Campbell, UTSC media relations officer, says that the incident occurred in late December — inconsistent with the video listing that says it occurred November 6.
Campbell says that campus police responded immediately. “They stopped, investigated and formally trespassed the man,” Campbell says. “Since he’s been served notice, if he returns to our campus he will be arrested and charged with trespassing.”
SCSU president Tahsin Chowdhury declined to comment on the incident.
As of press time, the video has over 16,000 views on YouTube.