Update on protest encampment – May 11 UBC Bookstore incident

Since April 29, we have been updating the UBC community about the protests located on UBC’s MacInnes Field on the Vancouver campus.

The University has been clear throughout this period that we uphold the tenet of freedom of expression, but that protest actions must remain peaceful, respectful and within UBC policies and the law.

During this period, there has been theft, abuse of university property, erection of barricades, installation of cooking and toilet facilities on UBC property and the removal and possible theft of a Canadian flag from a UBC flag pole. The University has been measured in its response.

Unfortunately, on Saturday May 11, about 30 protestors escalated their tactics and occupied the UBC Bookstore, breaking the law and UBC policies and breaching the safety and security of UBC staff. An additional 70-80 protesters surrounded the Bookstore and barricaded exits.

Staff and others were able to leave safely with the assistance of RCMP and Campus Security, and RCMP were able to clear the Bookstore. No arrests were made.

Protesters have clearly indicated they intend to continue escalating with such disruptive actions. The protesters have also made it very clear that they are unwilling to engage in any form of discussion.

To be clear, Saturday’s actions at the Bookstore are not acceptable to the University. They are not representative of freedom of expression nor were they peaceful.

The University will be considering all options in the days ahead and will engage with RCMP and legal counsel as we consider next steps.