A wave of student occupations in solidarity with the people of Gaza is continuing to spread across Britain. There are currently occupations at Kings College London and Oxford, Sussex, Newcastle and Kingston universities. There have also been sit ins at Warwick and Manchester Metropolitan.
These have been inspired by successful protests and occupations at Soas and LSE in London and Essex University. The first three occupations have all ended now, as their main demands have been met.
In Oxford more than 80 students have occupied the historic Bodleian building.
The demands put forward by individual universities are similar, but vary depending on the specific circumstances of each institution. Oxford's give a typical flavour.
Oxford University should release a statement in support of the right of Palestinians to education and its support to the Palestinian Academic community. The University should condemn in particular the attack on the Islamic University in Gaza.
Oxford University currently holds investments in BAE Systems, a firm that the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (caat.org.uk) states provides weapons and ammunition for the Israeli military. This means that our university is being directly funded by the Israeli war on Gaza. Oxford University must divest from BAE and other companies which supply arms to Israel.
- Five fully paid scholarships for Palestinian students
Particularly after the attack on Gaza and the ongoing hardships suffered by Palestinians, Oxford University should offer 5 fully-funded scholarships to Palestinian students as a way to contribute to greater access to education for those affected by the conflict.
- Cancellation lecture series inaugurated by Shimon Peres
The group demands that the Master of Balliol College cancel the lecture series that was inaugurated by the Israeli President Shimon Peres. It is not appropriate to have such a lecture series in light of the attack on Gaza and the ongoing siege.
- Resources for Education
The Oxford University should donate resources to, and support, the University and educational infrastructure that have been bombed in Gaza.
- Right to Peaceful Protest
Oxford University has a proud history of student activism. Students united to campaign against apartheid, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All students have a democratic right to peaceful protest and students should not be prevented from expressing their opinions by fear of reprisals.
Manchester Metropolitan » mmuoccupation.blogspot.com