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VIU restricts access to 24-hour university library as encampment continues

An encampment protester said that VIU is restricting access to bathroom facilities in an attempt to “manufacture a health and safety crisis”
The VIU Palestine Solidarity Encampment on Friday. Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus library can be seen on the right. COURTESY CHRIS ALEMANY

Vancouver Island University said it will close its Nanaimo campus library from midnight to 9 a.m., another campus-access restriction that has been enacted after pro-Palestinian students began an encampment.

The only 24-hour library on Vancouver Island, the VIU university library is steps away from the pro-Palestinian protest encampment that was set up at the VIU quad early Tuesday morning.

The university said in a statement Saturday afternoon that it “continues to actively support peaceful demonstrations” and the right to freedom on expression.

The statement did not give a reason for the increased restrictions.

Enhanced security measures have been in effect at VIU since Thursday.

All campus buildings now require keycard access by default and security guards have been posted near the encampment, which the university said is prohibited behaviour according to university policies and B.C. law.

“Erecting tents, temporary structures and overnight encampments are prohibited on VIU campus,” it said. “Protests must not disrupt university operations or interfere with students and employees.”

A protester at the encampment said Friday that VIU is restricting access to bathroom facilities in an attempt to “manufacture a health and safety crisis.”

The Nanaimo campus library receives more than 500,000 visits annually, according to VIU.

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