Skip to content

VIU complies with protest camp's demand, makes investments public

Small group of supporters of the protest occupied university's administration building June 11

One of the demands from an ongoing Palestine support camp at Vancouver Island University has been met following a brief occupation of an administration building on VIU's Nanaimo campus by an unrelated group in support of their protest.

The university has agreed to release investment information following a meeting with the student-led Palestine solidarity encampment and the Students for Palestine Committee this week.

A spokesperson representing both the camp and the committee declined to give their name citing safety concerns, but offered the following statement.

"As of now it has been three meetings and we are happy with the progress and hope to see it continue over the next couple of weeks. We need to take maybe 4,000 steps, but we are hopeful that by taking that very first step that VIU will continue to come and engage with students in good faith."

The student-led encampment, which has been ongoing since May 1, calls for the university to release a statement condemning genocide in Gaza, disclose all university investments, shut down the campus Starbucks and open an investigation into an incident at VIU this past winter when Muslim students' bags were allegedly searched without their consent.

The purpose of disclosing investments, according to the encampment, is to try to prevent direct and indirect financial relations with companies involved in the ongoing conflict. 

According to the release from the university, during the meeting the encampment representatives committed that they would not disrupt convocation ceremonies.

"VIU welcomed this assurance," the university said. "We also reaffirmed other commitments and shared investment information that was requested at the previous meeting."

Concurrent with the meeting, a cohort of a half-dozen alumni and former VIU staff occupied the university's administration building and office of vice-president Michael Quinn in solidarity with the student encampment.

A statement shared by VIU condemned the administration building occupation and stated the university "will take necessary steps, including engaging the appropriate authorities, to ensure a secure and respectful environment for our employees and students."

RCMP attended the scene, but protesters had left by the time authorities entered the premises. 

The encampment spokesperson stated that while the solidarity protest was not organized by the camp, it brought hope to the students to have other groups take direct action.

"We have been dealing with [being] a little bit isolated as students or looked down at just because it's student-led; however this is a show that this is global, not just students," the spokesperson said. "We came to learn about the protest the same time admin has learned about it, if not after. But encampment members have gone down to visit and take a look at the action happening."

The meeting followed a vigil held at the encampment for the students and educators who lost their lives in the bombing of Gaza's universities by Israeli forces.

The investment information released by the university is available on its website at

Jessica Durling

About the Author: Jessica Durling

Nanaimo News Bulletin journalist covering health, wildlife and Lantzville council.
Read more