Friday, 30 January 2009

'Students achieve historic victory' on iraq website

http://iraqwar.mirror-world.ru/article/188348

Students achieve historic victory for Gaza at Bradford University
By: paster, UkIndymedia on: 28.01.2009 [17:57 ] (266 reads)

Telegraph and Argus Piece

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/4083740.Students_stage_sit_in_over_Gaza/

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.”

Get your MP to suppor the occupations.

The following motion has been submitted to the house of commons, please make sure that you ask your MP to sign it in support of the occupations across the country. Contact them at http://www.writetothem.com/

The following parliamentary motion has been tabled:

EDM 626 STUDENT OCCUPATIONS 28.01.2009 McDonnell, John 2 signatures

Corbyn, Jeremy

That this House praises the wave of student occupations across the country against Israel's unlawful invasion and bombing of Gaza; regrets that an estimated thousand Palestinians have been killed as a direct result of the recent Israeli invasion of Gaza with many more people injured and suffering ongoing hardship; and welcomes the engagement of young people in protesting against the unfolding human tragedy in Gaza by taking direct action at numerous institutions including Cambridge University, Essex University, Kings College London, Manchester Metropolitan University, Oxford University, Queen Mary University London and Sussex University.

Regards
Nicolette Petersen
Office of Jeremy Corbyn MP

Thursday, 29 January 2009

University Statment published


The University statement was today published on the University website for students, staff and the public to read.

It re-affirmed the commitment to peace, international law and justice and gave a link to the DEC disaster appeal.

It can be read here http://www.bradford.ac.uk/news/gaza-statement.php

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Success


It's over, and it lasted less then twenty four hours. Through intense negotiations and serious debate with the Vice Chancellor, we managed to reach an agreement that is both satisfactory to the students taking part in the action and the University management team. We thank the Vice Chancellor for his quick response to our action, and his frank conversations with us. We believe that the statement we agreed on indicates clear intentions that the University, in consultation with the students, will take action.

Following the previous post discussing our negotiations, students waited for the Vice Chancellor to discuss our queries with other members of the university management team. At 12pm the negotiations resumed and our agreement was finalised with the Vice Chancellor and the Chair of Council (the two most senior members of staff with the University). Both were optimistic about the statement, however emphasized that the students, through the UBU, needed to assume responsibility for fulfilling their obligations to the agreement, as well as making sure the proposals were followed through. We feel that this agreement meets the objectives of this particular action, and provides clear tangible developments to students concerns over the problems in the Gaza strip. We hope to build on this through further work within the UBU to promote the cause of the Palestinians trapped by an illegal Israeli occupation.

The University of Bradford 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.

Viva Viva Palestina!!!

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

More pictures from the Tuesday




Photos from the rally and initial occupation of Tuesday, 27th January





Final Negotiations

We have entered into final negotiations with the Vice Chancelor of Bradford University. We are very close to coming to an agreement!

This morning around 6am, the 20 students who were occupying the boardroom set about finalising preperations for the upcoming day. We debated our new counter-proposal and discussed the motives and aims of the occupation. The mood was cautiously optimistic.

We were just finishing discussing our expectations for the day when the Vice-Chancellor came to speak with the representative of the Students Union. After feedback and discussion within the group we then agreed to establish a smaller negotiation group to discuss the final proposals with the Vice Chancellor.
The students, reasonably and peacefully moved location and ended the occupation as a gesture of good will and appreciation towards the university's efforts to accomodate our proposals.

The Vice Chancellor supplied the negotiation group with his written statement of acceptance of the main revised proposals. However, there was one point the students felt needed to be added to the university's action plan. The vice chancellor is now discussing these issues now with senior members of the university committee and will feedback to the students at midday today after these discuss.

We will keep you posted on final agreements...please checkback after midday...

Peace

A New Offer for a New Day

The University of Bradford in Solidarity with Gaza

In regards to the offer proposed yesterday, declined by the students, we appreciate the engagement of the university staff with our cause and regret the inconvenience caused by our continued occupation and we appreciate the support of the university security staff. However, we still feel our actions were fully justified and necessary. We feel strongly that we needed to stay overnight to fully consider all options. Having taken the time to consider the VC’s perspective, and a continued discussion of our own aims, we have created a new proposal which we feel all sides can accept.

In regards to Gaza, the university must:

1. Condemn violence and express its commitment to the principles of peace and justice and upholding international law.
2. Ask the Islamic University of Gaza if they are interested in twinning and:
• Write to the Islamic University of Gaza laying out what the University of Bradford may be able to offer in terms of teaching and research links, and emphasising solidarity and rights to education.
• Draw up a list of resources that may be useful in assisting the University of Gaza in rebuilding its infrastructure.
• Find out (with help from other organisations) how they can logistically transport education related aid into Gaza.
• Assign an individual or working group to gather information about the specific challenges of twinning with a university under occupation and draw up an action plan, which could involve teaching and research links.
3. UoB must pledge to provide additional financial support for Palestinian students. UoB to investigate whether to do this through scholarships, fee reduction, home fees or bursaries. This is in reference to all Palestinian students, not just current students. New scholarships must make a particular focus on Palestine and other stateless individuals.
4. Empower the food and drinks task group to make decisions about the ethical nature of products being sold on campus. In support of this, we the students, alongside the UBU, resolve to raise awareness and promote debate about products being sold on campus.
5. Write a public letter to Lloyds TSB, asking for clarification on their policy regarding Interpal. The university must also publish their reply.
6. Expand its ethical investment policy, to specifically exclude any investments that involve arms trading or oppressive regimes. This should be done with the utmost urgency, and with continued engagement with university staff and students.
7. Support non-violent actions taking place on campus making people aware of the issues, with no repercussions for any participants.
8. Recognise the efforts made by staff and students in pressuring the government to support any inquiries looking into war crimes etc. It is now time for the university as an institution to add to this by calling on the government and other universities itself.
9. For some of these actions to be taken over time and these to be monitored and reported back to students via the Union’s negotiation framework.

RADIO LEEDS INTERVIEW

This morning Sofia did a live interview and pre record at BBC Radio Leeds.
We've also had coverage on local stations Real Radio and The Pulse.
Please call in to show your support, educate people about Palestine and further the awareness of the situation in Gaza. Don't let it fade from the forefront....

Bradford MP supporting the occupation

Kelly Ready
University of Bradford

28 January 2009

Dear Kelly,

I am writing to express my solidarity with your protest.

We all need to protest about what Israel has done in Gaza. We must have an inquiry into possible war crimes.

I support your demands in that the University of Bradford must:
1. Issue a statement condemning the violence caused by the Israeli occupation of Palestine, and calling for the siege to be lifted on all sides.
2. Twin with the Islamic University of Gaza and erect a plaque to this effect.
3. Treat Palestinian students as home students and therefore charge them home fees.
4. Refuse to stock or contract with companies who support the Israeli occupation. This includes Nestle, Coca Cola, Walkers and Evian.
5. Pressure Lloyds banking group to act as a clearing bank for Interpal, or agree to transfer its custom to a more ethical bank.
6. Provide full finical transparency, and disinvest from any and all companies who support the Israeli occupation.
7. Support actions taking place on campus making people aware of the issues, with no repercussions for any participants.
8. Pressure the government to support an inquiry on whether Israel is responsible for committing war crimes.

Good luck, you have my support.

Yours sincerely



MR MARSHA SINGH MP
Bradford West Constituency

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Wednesday Morning

About 20 people stayed overnight, some managing to snatch a few hours sleep, others not sleeping at all. Tip for other occupations - make sure you have a good supply of healthy food, otherwise the combination of easy snack food with there being nothing to do will create digestion problems.

Staff were friendly overnight, the people manning the door hanging out with a security guard for more than an hour. This is a bit of a different occupation to some of the others; unlike for instance the Leeds occupation, we don't have the area secure against unwanted visitors - University staff have the power to enter at any time. This has created a less militant atmosphere, one based more on co-operation, but does not lessen our determination to keep hold of the space we occupy until our demands have been met.

UPDATE:BRADFORD!!

After lengthy discussions with the vice chancellor, in which he attempted to find a compromise with the occupiers, it was decided to continue the occupation overnight in order to put more pressure on the university to fulfil our demands.

Some people couldn't remain overnight, but many have stayed, some going off to fetch supplies; food, sleeping bags & blankets, games, etc. 15 people are currently settling down for a long night in the brightly lit boardroom, and we expect more soon.

The atmosphere is relaxed and confident, some chilling out and others preparing for the important first morning of the occupation tomorrow.

THE OCCUPATION IS IN FULL SWING


Following a rally at midday today, we as students from the University of Bradford began an occupation of the university in an urgent move to demand action from the institution. This comes as Israel today broke their assurance of a ceasefire by launching air attacks and a ground offensive, once again into Gaza.


Over 80 students took over the university board room, adjacent to the vice chancellor’s office, following a rally at midday today. There have been over a dozen successful occupations in other universities across the UK showing solidarity with the Palestinians victims.

The appalling Israeli action has killed over 1,300 Palestinians and injured thousands. Tens of thousands of civilians have been left homeless. Head of the UN Palestinian refugee agency in Gaza, John Ging, is now joining international calls for an investigation into the war crimes of the recent action, wherein Israel stands accused of using banned weapons such as phosphorus bombs, attacking medical facilities, including the killing of 12 paramedics in marked vehicles, and killing large numbers of policemen who had no military role, amongst other atrocious crimes.

Sophia Coles-Riley, a student union officer said “Students here at Bradford are appalled at the occupation of Gaza. We feel that our university should take action to support the people of Palestine. The University’s response so far has not answered our concerns. We intend to continue the occupation until our demands have been adequately responded to.”