This post will be continually updated.
Statement from the occupying students:
On the morning of Wednesday 11th February Edinburgh University students occupied the George Square Lecture Theatre. We have acted against the university because of its financial and commercial links to the apartheid state of Israel, in addition to its unacceptable silence in response to the Gaza conflict, described by the UN President of the General Assemby, Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, as “genocide”. We will sit-in until the heads of the university agree to the following demands…
Broadly, we demand that our university demonstrate what should be its inherent opposition, as an educational institution, to Israel’s illegal and shameful behaviours.
Read their demands here.
“The college has agreed to a series of measures to directly address the current crisis in Gaza, including the provision of scholarships for those directly affected by the crisis, and the donation of educational resources to institutions in Palestine”, said Mido Khan on behalf of the student protesters. “In addition, the college has acknowledged the scale of discontent that the award to Peres has generated among the student population, particularly considering the award in the context of what has happened recently in Gaza.” The students agreed to cease their occupation after college management agreed to publish a statement outlining the position of the College on these issues and the humanitarian measures undertaken in the wake of the occupation.
“This signals the reintroduction of student activism as a powerful agent for political change, and shows us that if we make a stand then we can make a difference”, said Hesham Yafai.
A spokesperson for the group said:
“Nothing we could have said or done would have been enough given the scale of the suffering inflicted on the people of Gaza by the Israeli military but we have achieved a huge victory for Palestinian students and for student activism. That we pressured LSE Director Howard Davies into issuing a public statement is a massive success but given the LSE’s history it shouldn’t have taken an occupation to achieve this. We look forward to meeting the new Palestinian students that our successes on application fees and scholarships will bring to the LSE.
Following the actions of Sheffield Hallam students and workers from around the city who voted to occupy the tenth floor of the Owen building to make practical demands of the university in solidarity with Palestinians and to condemn the actions of the Israeli state, the Sheffield Free Gaza Movement was formed to build initiatives and campaigns and continue to put pressure on the university management to fulfil the demands of the occupation.
OXFORD UNIVERSITY STUDENTS OCCUPY BUILDING IN SOLIDARITY WITH GAZA
In the first week of term, over 80 Oxford University students occupied the historic Bodleian building to demand that the university release a statement condemning the attack on Gaza and cancel the lecture series at Balliol College inaugurated by Shimon Peres.
Students organised the sit-in after attending an emergency meeting in Oxford organised to discuss the war on Gaza and the precarious ceasefire. Members of the University entered the Clarendon building and sat down at 1200, British time, on Thursday 22nd January. Their demands were presented to University officials, and by 7pm the same day they acheived victory, putting an end to the occupation after reaching a successful agreement with the university.
We as students of Queen Mary are occupying lecture room FB 1.13 in the College to protest against the recognised war crimes in Gaza committed by the Israeli Government, and to show our solidarity with the oppressed peoples in the region. We are pursuing this course of action to maintain the momentum of other student protests in Universities across the U.K.
As students of this institution, we unreservedly object on moral grounds to the University’s failure to boycott goods supplied by companies who fund military operations in Gaza.
Furthermore, we have strong reasons to believe the University is financially involved with arms dealers GKN and Cobham. We find this morally unacceptable and ask for complete transparency on the part of the University regarding any investments in the arms trade. It will be our policy to seek to expose this issue and open it up for debate within the College.
We sincerely regret any inconvenience caused to either staff or students at our College; however, we have been motivated to act on the basis of our moral convictions.
Read their demands here.
Goldsmiths will establish 4 scholarships, covering the cost of taught postgraduate tuition fees, to be awarded to students who come from all and any part of the world which is affected by oppression, persecution, political or military strife such that their human right to education is denied to them.
Goldsmiths will work with its students and other interested parties to establish a charitable trust to raise funds to support the costs of these students’ study – accommodation, travel and living expenses. In the early years of the charity’s operation, if it cannot raise sufficient funds to cover the costs, Goldsmiths will provide funds to enable the students to study at Goldsmiths.
Two of the four scholarships will, for the ten years from 2009-10 until 2018-19, be reserved for students from Palestine. Before the 2019-20 scholarships are advertised, there will be a review, which will include asking the student body (and making its assent a necessary condition) to determine whether and for how long the reservation of 2 scholarships for Palestinian students should continue.
Goldsmiths will work with Al-Quds Open University and Birzeit University, with which we already have strong academic links, in identifying suitable candidates. The selection panel to agree the criteria for the scholarships in the first instance, and to determine who receives the scholarships on an annual basis, shall comprise a student representative chosen by the students, an academic staff representative, and a Pro-Warden.
Over 80 University of Sussex Students have occupied a major lecture theatre in solidarity with Palestine under siege.
Motivated by the escalating crisis in Gaza, University of Sussex students have issued a set of demands to the University management calling for immediate action. The occupation is a response to recent Israeli military assault on Gaza. We stand in solidarity with the School of Oriental and African Studies, the London School of Economics, King’s College London, Birmingham and Essex Universities. The occupied space will be used for education and dialogue until the following demands are met…
read them here.
We, a coalition of SOAS students from many different backgrounds, have resolved to occupy the Brunei Gallery Suite. In line with Student Union motions, our aims are the following..
Read them here.
In response to our demands, the University made the following concessions:
On Monday, the Vice Chancellor issued a public statement in which he “expressed his dismay at the conflict and the loss of life in Gaza and Israel.” The University has declared that it is “agreeable in principle to facilitating schemes to provide surplus educational materials to Palestine…and that it will discuss with LUU (Leeds University Union) ways of extending opportunities for Palestinian students to study at Leeds.” The University has also stated that it will review its socially responsible investment policy and that it will accept a list of roughly a dozen companies which concern us most and they will inform us whether they do or do not invest in the aforementioned companies. We will actively pursue all of these concessions to ensure that they are followed through.
1 STATEMENT – That the University issue an official statement to the press condemning the recent and continuing atrocities perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza Strip, acknowledging particularly the effect on educational institutions, such as the bombing of the Gaza Islamic University.We demand:
The University should officially denounce the attacks on civilians, the systematic obstruction of humanitarian aid and the targeting of academic institutions, hospitals, places of worship and international peace keeping facilities. The University should encourage other universities to make such statements, as well as informing the UK and Israeli governments.
Read their full demands here.
MMU Students are currently in occupation of the Geoffrey Manton building. We are occupying the building in solidarity with the people of Gaza and to stand up to imperialism in the Middle East. We have issued the following set of demands to the Vice-Chancellor because we believe in delivering concrete solidarity for the people of Palestine.
Read their demands here.