The Universities Art Association of Canada-L’Association d’art des Universités du Canada (UAAC-AAUC) stands in solidarity with students across Canada and globally exercising their right to peaceful protest and to the exchange and dissemination of a diversity of ideas. We support these important efforts unequivocally. Our board members have met over the past weeks and wrote this statement to acknowledge the reprehensible violence against students, community members, and faculty on campuses across Canada. 

As a national association that gathers a diverse membership comprised of students, faculty members, and art and culture workers across multiple fields, we cannot ignore the current state of censorship and violence at our institutions. In recent days, students participating in peaceful protests have been subjected to tear-gassing by police or have been forcibly removed – this, following several violent actions, in recent weeks, committed against students by security and law enforcement at several universities across North America. 

The encampments continue a radical tradition of student solidarity against war, occupations and systemic violence and reaffirm university campuses as critical frontiers of resistance and social justice. These actions not only represent an immediate response to an urgent issue but also work to better our institutions through clear calls for transparency, accountability, and a commitment to equity. We reaffirm that academic freedom and freedom of speech are central to this endeavour. The board believes strongly that the suppression of ideas and expressions by students and faculty in peaceful protest does not reflect the values at the heart of UAAC-AAUC. 

We acknowledge our responsibility to plan for and maintain the safety of our membership as we prepare for our upcoming and future conferences. We endeavour for UAAC-AAUC to cultivate and support spaces for discussion and exchange, and welcome suggestions from our membership on how to host these crucial moments of community formation.

Our statement follows those released by our fellow professional University Arts and Humanities organizations, the College Art Association (CAA) and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). It responds to a formal request from our membership and adheres to our newly established advocacy policy. It addresses an urgent issue that directly impacts the advancement and development of our membership and the conditions in which we teach and learn. 

We thank our colleagues, membership, and fellow arts organizations for their commitment to public advocacy and join their calls for solidarity. 

UAAC-AAUC Board of Directors