Recently, the University of Ottawa student Union (UOSU) adopted a motion calling for the University of Ottawa to support the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel.
The UOSU is an independent body from the University of Ottawa. Out of respect for its governance process, the University usually refrains from commenting on UOSU’s business; however, the University is directly invited to divest by the motion. As I wrote in 2018, by definition, boycotts and divestments limit the free exchange of ideas and perspectives and, therefore, run contrary to the values that guide our university’s core academic mission. Moreover, boycotts and divestments create an environment where some members of our community may feel insecure and ostracized. I encourage members of our University community to engage in dialogue and work together to ensure that we have a campus where mutual respect and freedom of expression flourish.
Let me be clear. The University of Ottawa will have no part of the BDS movement nor any movement that boycotts academic institutions. We have actively pursued mutually beneficial relationships with leading institutions around the world and will continue to do so to further the advancement of knowledge and the free circulation of ideas, students and faculty members.
As a bilingual and multicultural institution, the University values and encourages academic freedom including freedom of expression, freedom of religion and equality for all. We welcome and embrace open dialogue and the free exchange of ideas from every member of our diverse community.
President and Vice-Chancellor