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Judge schedules hearing dates for University of Toronto’s injunction request against encampment

The University of Toronto is seeking a court order to remove a pro-Palestinian encampment on its downtown campus, with the injunction hearing expected to take place in three weeks.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Markus Koehnen has scheduled June 19 and 20 as the dates for the hearing, acknowledging that these dates may not align with the university’s timeline for resolving the issue before convocation ceremonies in early June. However, he emphasizes the importance of providing a fair opportunity for the respondents to present their case.

The university aims to dismantle the encampment that was established on May 2 and is seeking court authorization for police intervention to remove protesters who refuse to leave.

Alleging that the encampment restricts access to school property, poses health and safety risks, and has led to reports of harassment, hate speech, and violence, the university’s claims are denied by the protest organizers.

Despite a trespass notice issued last week, the protesters are contesting the injunction request and remain at the site.

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A court document filed on May 29 underscored the urgency of the university’s injunction request due to the encampment‘s proximity to Convocation Hall, where graduation events are held.

The judge maintains that June 19 and 20 are the soonest dates for the hearing to ensure a fair opportunity for the respondents to respond to the application.

The university’s convocations are scheduled from June 3 to 21, with protesters disputing any disruption of the ceremonies at King’s College Circle on the downtown campus.

Interveners have until the end of Thursday to submit their written arguments in the injunction hearing, with U of T presenting affidavits from various individuals regarding their experiences with the encampment.

The university argues that the injunction is vital to maintaining an open, free, and respectful environment for discourse and debate.

Demonstrators insist on staying until their demands, including disclosure of investments related to Israel’s actions in Gaza, are met.

Similar encampments at universities across Canada have sparked legal actions against protesters in recent months.

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