Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Occupation over - statement from the University

Following further negotiations we have secured the following statement from the University

It reads:
The University of Bradford and Gaza
1. The University of Bradford Student Union and an ad hoc group of students have articulated their concerns over recent events in Gaza in two submitted documents.
2. I had the opportunity to hear their concerns in a meeting which was also attended by the Chair of Council and the DVC.
3. The University reiterated that it has already:
a. Sent out a message of sympathy to all staff and students at the University who might be affected by recent events in Gaza together with information on getting support from University offices
b. Informed UBU that it has no investments in CAT
c. Communicated a statement about the strong ethical guidelines that inform our investment strategy.
d. Set up payment facilities for disaster relief to Gaza within the University
e. Agreed that the food and drink task force should consult with staff and students about the ethical status of products sold on campus.
4. Following discussions with the student meeting the University will:
a. Write to Lloyds Bank to seek an explanation of policy regarding banking facilities for Interpal.
b. Include the on-going issue of revisions to our ethical investment policy at Investment Committee
c. Provide a list of companies for whom we hold shares in our investment portfolio to UBU for comment and discussion
d. Explore the feasibility of a twinning link with the Islamic University of Gaza subject to the usual due diligence that has to be done by any UK University in formalising such links.
e. Consider a range of forms of support (financial hardship grants; scholarships) for students in financial difficulty as a consequence of the events in Gaza.
5. The University joins with the students in condemning violence wherever it occurs and wishes to express its commitment to the principles of peace, justice and the rule of international law.

Mark Cleary
Vice Chancellor


  1. On Tuesday night I watched Palestinians Murder an Israeli soldier by firing a RPG from inside Gaza at his passing patrol vehicle, then callously while his colleagues attempted to save his life, they opened fire at them too injuring several others soldiers (BBC News at 10).
    Is the UoB Students Union making issue of this too? Are the protesters taking this into account when occupying board rooms or are they blinkered to the injustices of just one set of people?
    The Union has shown NO impartiality in this matter and has not taken into account the views of many impartial students! I fully understand that the Union is there to act on the behalf of students, but in this case they have been hoodwinked into taking one view. They have not taken into account the views of many silent and unbiased students that do not agree with the murder, by Hamas, of innocent Israeli civilians or soldiers. Therefore, will the Union stand up and condemn Hamas? I guess not. It appears on the face of it that they have taken a very narrow minded, non-impartial position.
    The fact that the University has made a statement condemning ALL violence meets with my approval, however I believe it is now time for the UNION to step back from its one sided position, additionally make a statement condemning ALL violence too, then more importantly - remain IMPARTIAL in the future!

  2. Gaz. I condemn the violence by Hamas just as much as I condem the violence by any one else who commits such acts. They are all a crime. Except when 1,400 people are killed in indiscrimat killings by the National Army of a supposedly democratic government, then I have to make stand. When people have no electricity, no food, no water, no medicine and are effectively being held in an open prison, then I have to make a stand.

    I'd like to point out that the fate of the entire population of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is in the hands of the Israeli government. If they resort to firing rockets, for which they are nearly always killed in a near immediate airstrike, then there must be something wrong with the way Israel is treating those on the land it is occupying.

    I'd like to remind you that the Union included in condemnation of the violence by Hamas in its resolution. Did you not read that?

  3. There is no doubt that this is a contentious issue and like you said the Union has condemned both parties – but the indiscriminate firing of missiles into Israel from Gaza is in part down to the fact that Hamas militants (and others), is being shielded by the Palestinian people. The demand for freedom from Israeli oppression is legitimate and this is not in question, however, a solution unfortunately, will not be found by us on this comments forum. My point is that there are always two sides to every argument and thus, differing points of view to the current events in Israel and Gaza. As such the Union must remain impartial in this matter so as not to potentially alienate Jewish students within the British University institution. The fact that there has not been a Jewish movement protesting outside JB Priestly Library might be down to the fact they cannot stand up and be counted for fear of recrimination and intimidation.
    Hypothetically speaking, if I were a Jewish student at the UoB, I would have serious concerns in approaching the overtly bigoted Bradford students Union for support, given their outright support for the Palestinians in this matter. The UoB Students Union have clearly demonstrated a one sided position, when their opinions and viewpoint should not have been aired at all.
    They must represent the views of ALL and therefore remain impartial. To be frank I am really disappointed that the Union has jumped onto the band wagon like they have, issuing demands of the VC. The students were more than capable of doing this by themselves, without support from the Union. It is the lack of impartiality and good judgement that concerns me... might other minority groups feel reticent in approaching the Union for help in the future for fear that the Union has taken an opposing view to them?
    It is everyone’s individual right to speak out if they so wish, just likes the protesters did on Tuesday. I must reiterate that I too as an individual am saddened with what is happening in Gaza and fully sympathise with plight of both the Palestinians and the Israelis in this matter, however, it is this very contentiousness of this issue that demands total Union impartiality!