On May 23, at 3:50 pm, U of T President Meric Gertler gave student protesters 24 hours to accept the university’s latest offer and clear the encampment or they would receive a trespass notice. As of May 24, Occupy for Palestine (O4P) — the encampment’s organizer — has rejected the administration’s offer and continues to occupy King’s College Circle. 

Around 4:00 pm, Campus Safety officers put up trespass notices around the field’s fencing, giving the protestors until May 27, at 8:00 am, to end the encampment. 

Since students set up the camp — which they refer to as the “People’s Circle for Palestine” — on May 2, they have been calling on the university to disclose their financial holdings, divest from companies supplying the Israeli military, and cut ties with Israeli academic institutions. 

Most recently, O4P student representatives met with the university for the fifth time and have yet to reach an agreement on their demands.

“We will continue to be here”

At 11:00 am, O4P held a press conference within the encampment to address the offer proposed by Gertler.

“This is not an offer, this is an ultimatum,” said McCall.

O4P spokesperson Kalliopé Anvar McCall — a fourth-year student in diaspora studies — spoke at the press conference about Gertler’s offer with a printed copy in hand. She mentioned that this was the first offer the administration had printed and handed out to the students. 

“This document is a farce. This document is nothing but a summary of [the university’s] already existing procedure on divestment and disclosure,” McCall said. “This is a joke of a negotiation.” 

McCall added that the students feel frustrated by how the university has been communicating with encampment representatives. 

“This is not an offer, this is an ultimatum,” she said. 

Erin Mackey — a fourth-year student studying political science and environmental studies as well as an O4P spokesperson — also spoke at the press conference.

She claimed that in prior meetings with the university, the administration cited incidents at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary — where their administrations called on police to remove student protesters from their encampments — and said they didn’t want to repeat those actions. 

“Any future police presence or escalation will be because the University of Toronto cares more about profiting off a genocide than it does about the well-being of its own students,” Mackey said.

She also said that while the university has branded its recent offer as final, this is the first real offer on the table.

In a statement to The Varsity, Gertler stated, “Our offer is fair and reasonable. While the deadline has passed, we remain committed to dialogue and hope those in the encampment will continue to consider it so that their concerns can be addressed through established university process.”

Mackey noted, “Regardless of what happens today, tomorrow, the next day, two years from now, students will be continuing to demand the University of Toronto [divest from] Israeli apartheid.”  

When asked about whether they planned to end the encampment before the trespass notice deadline at 4:00 pm, Mackey said, “We will continue to be here.”

Union “frustrations”

“We demand that the university invest in our future and not on genocide and war,” the letter reads.

On May 24, a number of student unions at U of T — including the Association of Part-time Undergraduate Students; the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union; the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union; the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union; and the University of Toronto Students’ Union — sent a joint letter to the administration addressing their ongoing negotiations with the student protesters.

“We reaffirm our solidarity with the student encampment who have mobilized in support of Palestinians experiencing an ongoing genocide, occupation and settler-colonialism with direct demands,” the letter reads.

According to the letter, the unions feel “disappointed and frustrated” by the university’s response to the protestors’ demands. 

“We fear an escalation of the violence by the institution and police on students similar to other university campuses,” the letter read. “We urge that the administration not deploy any attacks on students and to not put students in further danger.”

The letter also mentioned that U of T was “one of the last universities” to divest from South African apartheid in 1988. The unions encouraged the administration to “seriously engage with the demands of the students and student organizers.”

“We demand that the university invest in our future and not on genocide and war,” the letter reads. 

“The People’s Circle for Palestine will continue until student demands are met. Disclose, Divest, we will not stop, we will not rest.”

Trespass notice 

At 4:05 pm, U of T issued a trespass notice and attached copies along the fence surrounding King’s College Circle after the university’s offer — which it referred to as “full and fair” — was not accepted by the deadline.

The notice mentions that the front campus is private property and that over the course of the encampment, there have been many health and safety concerns. It also stated, “The fundamental principle of inclusion… has been violated.” 

“If the encampment participants do not vacate Front Campus at King’s College Circle by Monday, May 27, 2024 at 8 a.m., the University will be taking all necessary legal steps including seeking an Order from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice,” the notice read.


The Ontario Superior Court of Justice is the largest superior trial court in Canada, with the jurisdiction to oversee criminal, civil, and family cases.

The notice also mentions that students, faculty, and community members are prohibited from occupying and remaining at King’s College Circle, erecting or maintaining tents, occupying other U of T property, and gathering at U of T property without authorization, per Ontario’s Trespass to Property Act

Anyone who enters private property without authority or the permission of the property’s legal owner or tenant may be found guilty of an offence under the Act and can be subject to a fine of up to $10,000.

“If you do not comply and remain in the encampment… the University will pursue consequences under University policies and the law,” the notice warned.

It stated that students also may be subject to disciplinary action under the university’s Code of Student Conduct. 

“Sanctions under the Code can be as severe as a five-year suspension or a recommendation to the Governing Council for expulsion,” the notice read. “Faculty members, librarians and staff may be subject to disciplinary measures up to and including termination of employment.”

In the statement to The Varsity, Gertler wrote they are “hopeful that the people inside the encampment will leave by the Notice of Trespass,” and that “the encampment must end.”