By Isabel Ringrose
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Goldsmiths student occupation demands recognition of Gaza genocide

Lecturers have said this is what education is really about
Issue 2893
Goldsmiths students in a meeting with a quote form Stuart Hall on the wall and their demands on a banner

Goldsmiths students in the occupation have held discussions

Goldsmiths students entered day four of their occupation on Friday—and they’re not leaving until the university recognises there’s a genocide in Gaza.

The students in south London have hosted teach-ins, music events and film screenings since occupying the Stuart Hall building on Tuesday. The building is covered in banners and the students have created an exhibition about Palestine and the occupation.

From the occupation, Samira said students are “determined”. “Management visited us on Thursday and agreed to a meeting,” she told Socialist Worker. “But we set conditions. Before any meeting management has to release a statement recognising the genocide in Gaza.

“We’ve also said that meeting has to happen in our occupation, and we want the management team, council and academic board present. We want to record the meeting so there’s accountability—and we want all our demands discussed. Now we’re waiting to hear back.”

Samira said the students are “confident” and feel like management is “on the back foot”. “Continuing to keep up pressure is the only way to win,” she explained. “We said on Tuesday we wouldn’t move until we were seen.

“Management immediately came, but it said it had addressed every demand. It hasn’t. It gave us rubbish answers. We grilled Frances Corner, our university warden. She said she knew there was a genocide.

“So we asked why that’s not been reflected in any of management’s statements. We were unhappy with its response—and continued to occupy.”

Management failed to appear for a meeting on Wednesday, and arrived late on Thursday. “Students are frustrated,” Samira said.

“We feel management said what it thought we wanted to hear. We’ve also got a meeting next Tuesday—we forced a student union general meeting to pass motions about Palestine.”

But the students have had an outpouring of support for their act of solidarity with Palestinians. “Students and staff have backed the teach-ins. We’ve had lecturers moving their lectures into the occupation and opening them up.

“On Wednesday we had a solidarity rally with local activists and other students from Soas, UCL and Royal College of Arts joining. We’ve also had a BDS workshop with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

“We’ve got a teach-in with the Palestinian Youth Movement and on Friday an event with medics and journalists called, ‘Medics and media under siege’, which Healthcare Workers for Palestine organised to support us.

“We have more students coming through, and roughly 20 here at any one time.” Samira says the students have turned the Stuart Hall building “into a space for radical learning”. “It’s incredible—everyone in the building has said we’ve created the most open space there’s ever been. Lecturers have said this is what education is really about,” she said. 

Across the weekend students are hosting several events from gigs, the music nights and film screenings. “Loads of people have brought us solidarity in the form of food and supplies. We’ve had amazing support from students inside and outside Goldsmiths,” she said. “But we say the best way to offer others solidarity is to take action for students to call out their own universities’ complicity. We want to see more occupations for Palestine.”

  • Send messages of support to @GoldsmithsForPalestine on Instagram, Sign the support letter here

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