SFU students: Our University must call for end to the genocide in Palestine, divest from military assets

Simon Fraser University, Whalley Campus, Surrey, Reg Natarajan

As students enrolled at Simon Fraser University, we are in support with and grateful to international growing campus movements organizing for a Free Palestine, post-secondary divestment from military assets – and against Israel and cops on campus. 

Simon Fraser University postcard, R Orville Lyttle

Settler colonialism is a violent ideology, and decolonialism is not a metaphor, it takes effort to dismantle the systems of power we resist.

As a staff member employed by SFU, I strongly believe that student activism is integral to creating a just campus. I support their important efforts to resist SFU’s business-as-usual posture as it is currently reproducing global systems of oppression emblematized today in Israel’s ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza and beyond. SFU is complicit in this harrowing violence against Palestinians by, among other things, investing in genocide profiteers like BAE Systems, Booze Allen Hamilton, and CAE Inc., living up to its legacy as an extractive colonial institution. Students are right to find this unacceptable at the institution in which they live, learn, and work, and to take action to end this complicity. I whole-heartedly support these students acting in alliance with their conscience and with the conscience of all freedom-loving people in the world. End Israel’s genocide, dismantle Israel’s system of apartheid, and free Palestine!” – Kylie Broderick, Coordinator for the Centre for Comparative Muslim Studies

As we witness daily, students and youth are leaders in the struggle for a free Palestine and in the movement for boycott of and divestment from companies and institutions that fuel the genocide and occupation. Students are also leaders in holding our universities accountable. As faculty members we must be in active solidarity with our students and stand up for their right to protest and their academic freedom as they apply and practice the critical thinking and analysis of power that we claim to hold dear.” – Dr. Kendra Strauss, Distinguished Professor, Labour Studies, SFU

We support calls from our own campus groups, such as Students for Justice in Palestine demanding SFU “divest university funds from war contractors.” Forever divestment from genocide is a bare minimum commitment.

Meanwhile, our institution has done little to ensure the safety of Palestinian, Muslim, Arab, Jewish, Indigenous and/or otherwise racialized students during this time of increased racist hate. So we also release this letter to affirm that as students, we value Palestinian life, the lives of our racialized peers, and are appalled by SFU’s inaction and institutional silence on an active genocide. We wonder how the silent administrators will live with themselves when they reflect on what they did to speak out during this time of violence.

My Jewish father was a student activist who faced violent repression fighting for civil rights and integration. My Jewish grand aunt was a peace activist who stared down her interrogators on the McCarthy committee. Jews are part of the movement for Palestine across the United States and here in Canada. The attacks on students protesting a genocide, justified by hysterical and baseless claims of widespread anti-semitism, are transparent attempts to distract from and cover up one of the worst crimes of human history as it continues to unfold. We won’t be silenced, and we won’t allow our tuition to be spent supporting this genocide.” – Nick Gottlieb, PhD student, Department of Geography, SFU (read one of his related columns here).

“The genocide in Palestine – generated by over a hundred years of colonial violence funded by institutions across the west – has highlighted the colonial and racist “customs” on University campuses. Racialized students are devalued, dehumanized and spoken over, while administrators debate whether they think genocide is even bad. After killing more than 42,000 Palestinians in six months, there should be no question that continued investment in Israel is wrong.” – Anmol Swaich, MSc student, Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU

SFU has likewise been host and promoter to concerning, present-day colonial and carceral activity. This includes hiring investigators to spy on student activity; continuing to hire producers of copaganda; allowing and elevating research that collaborates with police forces; permits drug war professors to mistreat students without consequence, and is seeing the increased securitization of their campuses. SFU’s chief of “safety” is a former officer of the colonial Royal Canadian Mounted Police, who has spread this pro-police messaging abroad.

When police are the enforcers of colonialism, permitting research funding and resources to flow toward their collaboration is an affront to academic freedom. By allowing and/or incentivizing inflation of the colonial project, institutions contribute to silencing anti-colonial resistance to violence. And here we are – an active settler colonial genocide is occurring in Palestine, and the University is passive and worse, laying bare the interconnected structures of violence they are willing to align with as an institution with international responsibilities.” – Tyson Singh Kelsall ਟਾਈਸਨ ਸਿੰਘ, PhD candidate, Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU

Universities are sites of struggle – and we pull from the history of student social and civil rights activism to know that we must all contribute to the work of liberation against imperial power to stop the violence. Solidarity with anti-colonial student movements everywhere.

SFU students have long been leaders in our community, pushing for progressive change in creative and important ways. Students are also usually at the sharp end of the resultant repression and denials of academic freedom and political agency.  This welcomed solidarity statement is one such chapter in this important history.” – Nicholas Blomley, Professor, Department of Geography, SFU

To add your name to the list of signatures below or for media inquiries, email our communications team: sfu2palestine@prontonmail.com



  • Ainsley Dinwoodie, student, SFU
  • Alya Govorchin, MSc student, Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU
  • Anmol Swaich, MSc student, Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU
  • Artin Safaei, BA Student, Department of Political Science, SFU
  • Ash Powers, BA Student, Department of History, SFU
  • Brendan Routh, BA student, Department of English, SFU
  • Brittany Schnell, student, SFU
  • Elyse Gawley, BA, Criminology, SFU
  • Emily R. Blyth, PhD candidate, Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU
  • Hannah Beram, MA Student, Department of Political Science, SFU
  • Harsh Trivedi, Graduate student, Global Humanities, SFU
  • Kiera Tsakonas, BA, MSc Candidate, SFU
  • Lisa Kim, BA, Political science & criminology, SFU
  • Maëve Leduc, MSc, Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU
  • Molly Beatrice, Research Assistant, Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU
  • Nabaa Radhi, BSc student, Health Sciences, SFU
  • Nebula Shen, BGS, Education, Minors in Indigenous Studies, English, and Social Justice in Education, SFU
  • Nick Gottlieb, PhD student, Department of Geography, SFU
  • Noor A. Ghazal, BFA, Visual Arts, School for Contemporary Arts, SFU 
  • Omri Haiven, MA, School of Communications, SFU
  • Pravleen Shoker, BSc, Biology, SFU
  • Sahar Zaman, PhD student, Department of Political Science, SFU
  • Sarah Ahmed, student, SFU
  • Thomasina Pidgeon, MA Student, Department of Geography, SFU
  • Tintin Yang, MA student, Department of Geography, SFU
  • Tyson Singh Kelsall ਟਾਈਸਨ ਸਿੰਘ, PhD candidate, Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU

SFU alumni in support

  • Christa Ovenell, alumni, SFU
  • Conor Wilkie, Double minor in Indigenous Studies and International Studies, alumni, SFU
  • Cynthia Broderick, M.Ed., alumni, SFU
  • Helena Krobath, School of Communication 2015, recipient of Dean’s Convocation Medal, alumni, SFU
  • Irwin Oostindie, MA CMNS 2021, Dip URB 2023, alumni, SFU
  • Jade Cameron, International Studies and Sociology, alumni, SFU
  • Luke Galvani, MA 2019, School of Communication, alumni, SFU
  • Nathan Crompton, Department of History, alumni, SFU
  • Pietro Sammarco, MA 2016, School of Communication, alumni, SFU
  • Rachel Taylor, MPub 2019, BA 2015, alumni, SFU
  • Steven (Squire) Hall, BA majoring in Indigenous Studies and extended minor in Psychology (2020), Former Board member for the First Nations Student Association (aka. FNMISA), Former inaugural Research Assistant for Decolonizing Teachings Seminar Series with ISTLD, alumni, SFU

Razing Gaza: Israel’s War on Palestine Health and Wellbeing panel lecture at Simon Fraser University

Sign Call for Divestment from Arms Production led by SFU Faculty for Palestine (open to SFU community, including alumni, students, staff, and faculty)

May 2, 2024 Statement: SFU students encourage supporting UBC encampment for Gaza


British officers in Palestine to colonize and occupy the territory, December 1917, Matson Collection, Library of Congress
Arab Women’s Association of Palestine, Jerusalem 1940-1946, Matson collection, Library of Congress

Urgent Statement and Action: Against the Destruction of the Health System in Gaza

Health Authority & Nonprofit Silence on Palestine Encourages BC’s Complicity in Genocide

Symbols Are Beautiful–Not Exoneration For Injustice