In a ruling announced on Thursday, the University of Toronto said it would require the Graduate Students’ Union to stop forcing students to fund the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. It was the first time a Canadian university has intervened to stop a student group from promoting BDS.
The Complaint and Resolution Council for Student Societies (CRCSS), a university organization, had received a complaint in February 2020 about the BDS committee on the student group.
The claim, brought forward by U of T graduate student Chaim Katz and supported by B’nai Brith Canada, asked whether a student society at the university could “embark on a campaign of economic and academic warfare against people of a certain nationality, and forcibly conscript its members to the campaign by way of their membership fees?”
On Thursday, the Resolution Council (CRCSS) determined that the BDS Caucus had broken the Union’s anti-discrimination policy, by discriminating based on nationality. It recommended such steps as revising bylaws to oppose nationality discrimination and making BDS fees refundable.
“Today is the day that I hoped would come for more than five years,” said Katz in a statement. “The students and community members I have had the privilege to work with were instrumental in reaching this day. I expect the University to implement this ruling without delay.”
Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada, called the decision “a massive victory for Jewish students at the University of Toronto and across Canada.”