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Western University's president issues statement on encampment

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A large Palestinian flag flies over the encampment near Western’s University Community Centre.

The demonstration is in support of Palestinians in Gaza as Israeli incursion into the territory continues.

They’re also calling on Western to divest from agencies or organizations whose work supports Israel’s military effort.

In statement issued early Wednesday evening, Western officials said they have again met with encampment members.

The statement includes a message from Western President Alan Shepard.

It the first time Shepard has issued a formal response to the Western Divestment Coalition protest.

In the message, he states that Western has been disclosing investment information since 2022.

The message outlines seven points designed to serve as a path toward ending the demonstration.

One of the commitments is for a meeting between coalition members, university leadership, and the Western Investment Team to demonstrate a commitment to transparency.

Shepard is proposing a Provost's committee to ensure current and future agreements and partnerships are grounded in human rights considerations and Western community values.

He's also proposing a process that will allow Western community members to express their concerns in the future.

While the president's message is mostly conciliatory, it also calls out the behaviours of some involved in the encampment, saying they've been intimidating visitors including high school students taking part in campus tours.

He also alleges encampment participants have committed acts of vandalism and engaged in assaultive behaviour towards staff.

Shepard calls the behaviours unacceptable, saying they cannot go on.

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