Ottawa Police say they are not investigating the vandalism that left the statue of Joseph-Henri Tabaret at the University of Ottawa coated in paint. 

Ottawa Police told Capital Current that they had still not received a call for service about a vandalism incident at University of Ottawa last week. 

In a statement OPS said, “Tabaret lawn at uOttawa is private property owned by the university and the Ottawa Police Service is not engaged on the campus at this time. We continue to liaise with uOttawa Protection Services. We are also in communication with other post-secondary institutions.”

The statue, located across from the encampment on Tabaret Lawn at the uOttawa campus, was reported vandalized on May 26.

The statue has been defaced with orange paint, with the word “Colonizer” spray painted on the ground in front of it. It had sat untouched throughout the student encampment until the incident.

At the end of April, student group Integrity Not Spite Against Falastin (INSAF) organized a sit-in turned encampment on the grounds of Tabaret Hall, calling on the University of Ottawa to divest from companies with ties to Israeli businesses and Israeli institutions. 

In a post shared to their Instagram on May 23, INSAF shared a video of the defaced statue, saying: 

“Palestinians and Indigenous people everywhere understand very well the horrors of genocide, past and present. From mass graves to the cut off from clean water, they continue to face the horrors of colonial violence. In the midst of this, uOttawa thinks it is appropriate to be complicit in the Palestinian genocide all while celebrating the legacy of a man who was active in the erasure of Indigenous people on this very land.

“Joseph-Henri Tabaret actively contributed to the “Indian missions” by recruiting agents for the missions and strengthening existing endeavours to restructure and transform Indigenous beliefs and societies into European ones. He was a member of the Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate, known for their historic administration of at least 57 schools within the infamous Canadian Indian residential school system.

“As uOttawa continues to drench itself in blood, we affirm: from Turtle Island to Palestine, no peace on stolen land!”

Rideau-Vanier Coun. Stéphanie Plante told the Ottawa Citizen after the vandalism was discovered: “I have had complaints from residents and alumni who were sad to see the vandalism and they have commented that M. Tabaret was a staunch supporter of bilingualism and a founder of uOttawa.”

Tabaret was a French-born Roman Catholic priest, and is known for his academic contributions to the University of Ottawa.