Statement from President Jacques Frémont on the SFUO vote on BDS

Posted on Monday, March 26, 2018

Sunny scene of Séraphin Marion alley on uOttawa campus, with pedestrians and busses in the background.

For the third time in five months, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) has defeated a motion to support the Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel. Last night at its Board of Administration meeting, the SFUO failed to reach the two-thirds threshold to pass the vote and the motion was defeated.

The SFUO is an independent body from the University of Ottawa. Out of respect for its governance process, the University usually refrains from commenting on SFUO’s business. However, I firmly believe that this issue is divisive and a detriment to an open and welcoming campus environment. By definition, boycotts limit the free exchange of ideas and perspectives and, therefore, run contrary to the core values that guide our University’s core academic mission. Moreover, boycotts create an environment where some members of our community may feel insecure and ostracized. I encourage members of our University community to work together to ensure we have a campus where mutual respect and freedom of expression flourish.

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 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.

Jacques Frémont
President and Vice-Chancellor

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