Tuesday, 24 February 2009
We are a group of students concerned about the university's continuing support for Israel's actions in Gaza and the West Bank, indicated by the university's investments with BAE Systems who have sold 236 F-16 fighter planes to the Israeli state, and its silence over the recent atrocities and human rights abuses perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza Strip.
As a result we have occupied room 202 in the Smeaton Building in solidarity with the people of Palestine and to directly protest against the university's complicity in Israeli war crimes. We are issuing the following demands to the university and we are willing to continue the occupation until they are met.
1. That the University of Plymouth issue a statement condemning the recent and continuing atrocities perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza strip. 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.
2. That the University of Plymouth cease to invest directly or indirectly in companies complicit in human rights abuses in the Gaza strip and internationally.
3. That no Israeli goods or goods produced by companies that have directly funded the State of Israel be sold on campus.
4. That the University of Plymouth provide complete financial scholarships for six students from Gaza University which has been bombed by the Israeli military.
5. That any surplus educational resources available to the University of Plymouth are provided to Gaza University and that the shipping of these resources be fully paid for by the University of Plymouth.
6. That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the occupation. All those involved will be guaranteed free movement in and out of the occupied space, with open access to electricity and internet.
We await your response to organise a formal meeting between delegates of our occupation and with university management to negotiate these demands.
The occupying students of the University of Plymouth
Our demands are:
UAL must issue a full public statement condemning the bombings of educational institutions in Gaza. This statement must be official and formal in its entirety.
UAL must agree to break all corporate links with Israel to add pressure on its denial of Palestinians human rights.
UAL must survey its resources with the aim of donating any unused or out of date books, computers, furniture or other teaching resources with an educational institute within Gaza. A link should be established between the two academic institutions and sustained support should be maintained for a minimum of 5 years.
UAL must provide 10 fully-funded scholarships to Palestinian students affected by the recent conflict.
UAL with the support of the UALPSC, must organise a one-day intercollegiate charity event to raise funds for humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.
UAL must agree to hold an exhibition curated in-part by the UALPSC. Artworks exhibited to focus on the conflict and humanitarian crisis. shown in one of the University's spaces of the UAL PSC's choice.
We are calling for all students of UAL to join us and help the people of Gaza.
This protest is organised by the University of the Arts Stop the War Society and the Palestine Solidarity Network
Thursday, 12 February 2009
a public condemnation of the situation in gaza by both the university
authorities and the executive
Education and aid for the University of Gaza, for example old computers text
books etc to be sent there to help replenish the resources destroyed by the
For UEA to twin with the University of Gaza
Scholarships for palestinian students so that they can continue their disrupted
A condemnation from the NUS from the Union for its faliure to adress the
massacre in Gaza in a meaningful way
No repurcussions for any students member of staff or the public who is involved
in or in anyway supportive of the occupation
Feel free to ring 07511612691 for further information
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Sunday, 8 February 2009
Campus sit-ins began as a response to the Gaza attacks, but unrest is already spilling over to other issues. Emily Dugan reports.
They are the iPod generation of students: politically apathetic, absorbed by selfish consumerism, dedicated to a few years of hedonism before they land a lucrative job in the City. Not any more. A seismic change is taking place in British universities.
Around the UK, thousands of students have occupied lecture theatres, offices and other buildings at more than 20 universities in sit-down protests. It seems that the spirit of 1968 has returned to the campus.
While it was the situation in Gaza that triggered this mass protest, the beginnings of political enthusiasm have already spread to other issues.
John Rose, one of the original London School of Economics (LSE) students to mount the barricades alongside Tariq Ali in 1968, spent last week giving lectures on the situation in Gaza at 12 of the occupations.
"This is something different to anything we've seen for a long time," he said. "There is genuine fury at what Israel did.
"I think it's highly likely that this year will see more student action. What's interesting is the nervousness of vice chancellors and their willingness to concede demands; it indicates this is something that could well turn into [another] '68."
Beginning with a 24-hour occupation at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) on 13 January, the sit-ins spread across the country. Now occupations have been held at the LSE, Essex, King's College London, Birmingham, Sussex, Warwick, Manchester Metropolitan, Oxford, Leeds, Cambridge, Sheffield Hallam, Bradford, Nottingham, Queen Mary, Manchester, Strathclyde, Newcastle, Kingston, Goldsmiths and Glasgow.
Among the demands of students are disinvestment in the arms trade; the promise to provide scholarships for Palestinian students; a pledge to send books and unused computers to Palestine; and to condemn Israeli attacks on Gaza.
Technology has set these actions apart from those of previous generations, allowing a national momentum to grow with incredible speed. Through the linking up of internet blogs, news of successes spread quickly and protests grew nationwide.
Just three weeks after the first sit-in at SOAS, students gathered yesterday at Birkbeck College to draw up a national strategy. The meeting featured speeches from leaders in the Stop the War movement, such as Tony Benn, George Galloway MP and Jeremy Corbyn MP. There has also been an Early Day Motion tabled in Parliament in support of campus activism.
At the end of the month students from across the country will gather for a national demonstration calling for the abolition of tuition fees, an event that organisers say has rocketed in size following the success of the occupations over Gaza.
Vice chancellors and principals have been brought to the negotiating table and – in the majority of universities – bowed to at least one of the demands. The students' success means that now there is a new round of protests. On Wednesday two new occupations began at Strathclyde and Manchester universities, and on Friday night students at the University of Glasgow also launched a sit-in.
Emily Dreyfus, a 21-year-old political activist in her third year of reading classics at Oxford, was one of around 80 students to occupy the historic Bodleian library building in the city and demand that the university issue a statement condemning the Gaza attacks and disinvest from the arms trade. She said: "I found Oxford politically very dead when I arrived, but it's completely different now. There seem to be more and more people talking about politics, which is so exciting. It's really been aided by the communication tools we've got, things like Facebook."
Wes Streeting, the president of the National Union of Students, said: "What we've seen over the Gaza issue is a resurgence of a particular type of protest: the occupation. It's a long time since we've seen student occupations on such a scale. It's about time we got the student movement going again and had an impact."
Establishments that have not previously been known for their activism have also become involved. Fran Legg was one of several students to set up the first Stop the War Coalition at Queen Mary, a research-focused university in London, a month ago. Now they are inundated with interest.
"Action on this scale among students hasn't been seen since the Sixties and Seventies," she said.
"This is going to go down in history as a new round of student mobilisation and it will set a precedent. Gaza is the main issue at the moment, but we're looking beyond the occupation; we're viewing it as a springboard for other protests and to set up a committee to make sure the university only invests ethically."
As the first generation of students to pay substantial direct fees to universities, their negotiating power has also been strengthened. Their concern over their college's investments have been given new legitimacy because it is partly their money.
Ms Legg said: "For the first time, you've got students getting principals to the negotiation table, saying they don't want their tuition fees funding war. Everybody wants to know where their money is going."
The activist: 'Students will see they can take action'
Katan Alder, 22, student leader speaking from the occupation at Manchester University
"We've been occupying the university since Wednesday. More than 500 people came to an emergency Students' Union meeting and we took the vice chancellor's administration block that afternoon. Israel's assault on Gaza made people angry, and we heard about the occupations at other universities through blogs. This is the biggest student campaign we've had and it's also the most wide-reaching. We'll stay until the university lets us meet with the vice chancellor. I think students will see they can take action on more issues, such as the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and the education system; the Government's refusal to stop the marketisation of education has provoked a lot of anger."
The '68 veteran: 'It changed our lives'
John Rose, 63, former student organiser at the London School of Economics in 1968; now a lecturer and author on the Middle East
"I arrived at the LSE in '66 as an extremely naive liberal student and I left in '69 as a revolutionary socialist. It changed our lives. I was one of the student organisers with Tariq Ali and attended all the demonstrations and occupations. We did think a revolution was coming; we thought mass action of students might overthrow capitalism and bring genuine equality. It took us some time to realise that wasn't going to happen.
"It wasn't just about rioting and having fun, it was political argument that probed all the assumptions about the world. It was a highly intense period and the memory stays powerfully with anyone involved; it's the memory of those times that has kept me going.
"It was a feeling of fantastic elation: we began to realise that mass action could change things. Once it started, we developed a taste for it and began to consider mass activity as a way of doing politics, which is what's happening now. People are fed up with bankers, politicians and elite institutions. Hundreds of us thought the revolution was coming in '69, but maybe the revolution is coming now."
Saturday, 7 February 2009
The occupation of the University of Rochester ended after 9 hours. The university agreed to a number of statements that we could hold them accountable for and build on to continue this movement of boycott and divestment. Most importantly, we got them to agree to help organize with their own resources a public forum to expose their investments. Below are the statements that Dean Burns signed last night.1. Divestment. That Dean Burns help organize a public forum with the U of R investors, SDS and the community on U of R investment policy, and U of R investment in Israel.2. Humanitarian Aid. That U of R commit resources and provide any needed information for a campus-wide fundrive for Palestine.3. Academic Aid. That U of R assess needs in Gaza and donate surplus supplies to universities such as computers, books...etc.4. Scholarships. That U of R commit to providing international student scholarships to Palestinians.We are proud of what we did and the support from community activists we received. This was just the first step at the University of Rochester.For details on the occupation, reported from the inside: http://www.thesitch.com/
Solidarity from the UK! Rochester have taken an historic, unprecedented step for American universities. The international movement is growing!
Also: Solidarity to other activists in the US, who were punched by a journalist and manhandled by police:http://socialistworker.org/2009/02/03/activists-protest-aipac
Friday, 6 February 2009
Thursday, 5 February 2009
"The list is pretty poor" said Lloyd from the Union, "it consists of oil, arms, aeroplanes and mining to name but a few".
The meeting is being called to talk about the next steps students can take in making sure that their University is investing ethically.
Friday 6th February 2:30 - 3:30pm
Union Biko Board Room
Wednesday, 4 February 2009
5-7pm in room
C7 Richmond building.
All are welcome
They have also released to the Student Union the list of all companies that they have invested in and their share portfolio. This will be shared with anyone on the occupation to review and decide their next steps.
STUDENT ACTIVIST CONFERENCE, SATURDAY 7 FEB, 12-4PM, Birkbeck College, Central London.
Dear student activist,
In the last three weeks British campuses have seen a wave of student occupations. College managements are only now coming to terms with the seriousness of these actions.
The wave has not subsided. Queen Mary, University of London, are still in occupation and there are others planned. The victories won at Essex, Sussex Kings College and many others, include scholarships, aid to Gaza and an end to investments in companies which arm Israel.
These demands have been present in the student movement for many years, but in a few weeks of occupation many have been achieved. The tactic of occupation has not been used so successfully for a decade in the student movement. It will doubtless raise its head again.
The threatened sacking of 350 lecturers at London Metropolitan University shows how the recession will affect university students. It is vital for the student movement that we celebrate our wave of victories, and prepare for future battles.
Join us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=61237579988
Solidarity with Gaza - End the War on Terror Tony Benn, George Galloway MP, Lindsey German, Mira Hammad, LSE occupation
Building solidarity with Palestine on the campuses With representatives from University campaigns
The future of the anti-war movement
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Chris Nineham, StWC, Rob Owen, NUS NEC
Students who occupied the Owen Building at SHU and were evicted and threatened with disciplinary action are asking for support. See details on their blog at http://shuoccupation.blogspot.com/2009/02/speak-out-to-university.html
In response to the numerous queries we have had about how people can voice their sentiments to the university management, we suggest that people contact the university either through:
- Calling the university switchboard directly on 0114 225 5555,
- Sending an email to the following:
Vice Chancellor's PA: FAO Phillip Jones email@example.com
Secretary's PA: FAO Liz Winders firstname.lastname@example.org
In order that we can verify numbers of people registering complaints/sentiments should the University prove unwilling to divulge this information, you may CC or BCC your message to email@example.com, though there is no obligation to do so.
Monday, 2 February 2009
Statement of support for student occupations over Gaza
As members of the University and College Union National Executive Committee, we would like to send solidarity greetings to the students in the 17 universities who have occupied their universities in protest over the Gaza crisis. This is the largest wave of occupations for over a quarter of a century. Too often, the media seek to portray this generation of students as ones who do not share the aspirations of the 1968 generation – and deride you as, “Generation Apathy”. Your actions have decisively dispelled this myth.
Your demands to secure disinvestment by universities from companies involved in selling arms to Israel and free scholarships for students from Gaza show your humanity. You speak for the millions of young people throughout the world who are sick and tired of war and injustice, who simply desire a world in which the young grow up not knowing what it is like to kill and maim.
You are an inspiration to us all and we wish you every success and call upon all those who want a more peaceful world to support your action.
Sunday, 1 February 2009
out basically the same statement with regard to our place. he then
gave us two minutes or "our guards will remove you"
2. We decided since none of our demand had even been considered to sit
at the back of the lecture hall and non-violently resist.
3. 9 or so uniformed security guards entered the room and proceeded to
remove the protesters from the floor with force and then throw them
out the building into the cold. I do not think it unreasonable to say
that this is likely illegal considering these are not police officers
but simply security guards. Several screamed out in pain, belts were
4. Once all the protester had been ejected from the room the
University guards etc proceeded to begin to look through the objects
that remained in the room. This I believe is also a potential legal
Please publicise this immediately.