The University of Toronto, where students set up a pro-Palestinian encampment weeks ago, has given protesters 24 hours to consider its offer to end the demonstration. 

The offer includes forming a working group to consider options for the disclosure of the school's investments, but the university says it will not end any partnerships with Israeli universities as protesters have demanded. 

University president Meric Gertler said Thursday that a trespass notice will be issued if an agreement is not reached with encampment organizers.  

The encampment was set up on the downtown Toronto campus May 2 to call on the university to cut its ties with Israel over the ongoing war in Gaza. 

The protesters had joined students at other universities in Canada and the United States in calling on their schools to disclose ties with the Israeli government, divest from Israeli companies and terminate partnerships with Israeli academic institutions that operated under parameters they opposed. 

U of T encampment organizers said they will address the offer at a news conference on Friday, while expressing frustration about how negotiations with the university have been playing out. 

Gertler told a hastily called news briefing that the offer, which also includes students getting an opportunity to present their demands on divestment, is conditional on the encampment clearing and not resuming at any campus of the university. 

Asked if the university is prepared to call police to clear the camp, Gertler said they are “not eliminating any options.”

He said at least half a dozen incidents of "hateful speech and hateful acts" on campus have been reported to police since the encampment began and that the patience of the larger U of T community is wearing thin.

"Many members of our community feel increasing distress by the presence of the encampment," Gertler said. "They feel unsafe, they have reported feelings and experience of discrimination and harassment."

After Gertler's news conference, some protesters gathered outside the encampment perimeter, chanting "We won't rest till U of T divests" and other slogans. 

Mohammad Yassin, a fourth-year economics and statistics student, said the protesters came to the negotiating table in good faith but the university “consistently abused our trust.”

He said the students are upset that the university’s offer came “under threat of a trespass notice,” which he said lays the groundwork for a “violent clearing” of the encampment. 

Yassin also said that allegations of hateful incidents linked to the encampment are "lies."

“This is a farce,” he said, adding that the protesters are committed to a peaceful resolution. As a Palestinian student with family members in Gaza who were killed, he said the protest has been very personal for him. 

Gertler said the university is hopeful that people inside the encampment “will abide by the law” and said the school will proceed with planned convocation ceremonies in early June "no matter what."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 23, 2024.