On May 29, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) announced that they had arrested a man on May 24 for an alleged assault near the entrance of the student encampment. 

UofT Occupy for Palestine (O4P) set up the encampment on May 2, calling on the university to disclose their financial holdings, divest from companies supplying the Israeli military with weapons and services, and cut ties with Israeli academic institutions. 

The incident occurred on May 9 at 3:45 pm. Police say the victim was approached by a man inside the encampment area, where they began arguing with the suspect — who has since been charged with one count of assault.

The university provided a link to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice court document from May 29. In the document, Ryan Dow, the Assistant Director of Community Liaison & Support Team for Campus Safety, provided a sworn statement on the altercation. 

According to the report, the victim and his son attempted to enter the field at King’s College Circle. The victim was then allegedly told by multiple people in the encampment that they were not allowed inside. The victim allegedly attempted to push the gate and enter the camp. The victim was allegedly pushed by three people — including the suspect — who attempted to remove him from the area. The suspect then allegedly threatened to hit the victim with a glass bottle. 

The victim and the suspect did not know each other and the victim did not sustain any injuries. The suspect is scheduled to appear in court on July 9.

In a statement to The Varsity, O4P spokesperson Sara Rasikh — a first-year masters student studying social justice education — noted that the person who allegedly committed the assault is “no longer at [the] camp.”

Rasikh said that U of T has not adequately addressed the student protesters’ safety concerns and “agitators and instigators continue to get away with framing themselves as the victims in relation to the encampment.”

The student protesters continue to camp out at King’s College Circle, despite being issued a trespass notice from the university. As protesters enter day 29, lawyers representing the university are seeking an injunction to remove the ongoing encampment. 

The injunction hearing has been scheduled for June 19 to June 20, despite the university’s attempts to clear the camp before graduation ceremonies taking place between June 3 to June 21.

On May 27, U of T President Meric Gertler virtually attended a Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights  at Parliament to discuss antisemitism on university campuses. During the meeting, Gertler noted incidents at the encampment, saying “We have reported hateful acts and hateful speech to Toronto Police Services.”

According to Gertler, there have been about 38 incidents at the encampment, with six falling under the category of hate speech or hateful acts and are under investigation by the TPS.

In a statement to The Varsity, a university spokesperson wrote that “The safety and security of our students, faculty, staff, librarians and visitors is of utmost importance.”

The statement also mentioned that the university received “many concerning reports” and “referred some of these incidents to the Toronto Police Service for their assessment.”

“We are dedicated to creating a safe, secure and equitable environment for all,” the spokesperson said. 

TPS has asked anyone with information about the assault on May 9 to contact police at 416-808-3506, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), or at www.222tips.com.