Students stage sit-in over Gaza
6:42pm Wednesday 28th January 2009
By Paddy McGuffin
A student occupation of Bradford University led to negotiations with the vice-chancellor over the institution’s ethical investment policy.
The occupation followed a protest over the ongoing situation in Gaza and called for the University to state its position in regard to the crisis.
About 100 students occupied the union offices at Bradford University overnight calling for a face-to-face meeting with vice-chancellor Professor Mark Cleary to discuss the university’s investment policy in regard to Israel and support the students over the Gaza crisis.
The students also asked the university to revise and make transparent its investment policy as well as investigating the possibility of twinning the University with the Islamic University in Gaza.
Yesterday, Prof Cleary agreed to meet the protesters to discuss the issues. Following negotiations, during which a number of further points were discussed, Prof Cleary, said: “The University of Bradford joins its students in concern over the escalating violence in the Gaza strip and Southern Israel.
“The University condemns violence wherever it occurs and wishes to express its commitment to the principles of peace, justice and the rule of international law. He added that the University had sent a message of sympathy to staff and students at the University who might be affected by events in Gaza and communicated a statement about the strong ethical guidelines that informed its investment strategy.
He said the university would write to its bank, Lloyds TSB, to query its policy towards Palestinian charity Interpal and provide a list of companies in which the university is a shareholder. Prof Cleary also pledged to explore the feasibility of twinning with the Islamic University of Gaza. Philip Hoffmann, one of the protesters, said: “The occupation has been very successful and has proved that peaceful direct action can have an effect.”
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