January 22, 2009
Students sit-in protest over Gaza
01.24.2009 | BBC
More than 100 students are staging a sit-in at Cambridge University in protest at the actions of the Israeli military in Gaza.
Members of Cambridge Gaza Solidarity say they intend to spend the weekend inside the university’s law faculty.
A spokeswoman said they wanted to show support for the Palestinians in Gaza.
Israel launched a three-week offensive against Hamas in Gaza in December. A reported 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.
Israel has since declared a ceasefire, while Hamas has announced a one-week cessation.
The Cambridge Gaza Solidarity spokeswoman said the students took action after similar occupations were staged at other UK universities.
A sit-in demonstration at the Clarendon Building at Oxford University was held on Thursday and thousands of people have protested in cities across the UK to call for an end to Israeli attacks on Gaza over the last few weeks.
Protests over Gaza spread to eight English universities
01.22.2009 | The Guardian
By Anthea Lipsett
LSE director Howard Davies issues joint statement with demonstrators
As student protests over the bombing of Gaza spread to eight universities across England today, the director of the London School of Economics, Sir Howard Davies, issued a joint statement with student protesters saying he understood their concerns and backing a fundraising drive for scholarships for Palestinians.
LSE protesters ended their week-long occupation of the institution’s Old Theatre peacefully last night, after Davies, former chairman of the Financial Services Authority, agreed to meet some of their demands.
But he refused to issue an official university statement condemning the Israeli bombardment of Gaza or to publish regular financial statements spelling out LSE’s investment in companies involved in supplying arms to Palestine and Israel.
The LSE will waive scholarship application fees for students affected by the conflict, help students organise a fundraising day, and donate surplus computers and books to institutions in Gaza.
The joint statement quoted Davies as saying: “I well understand the concerns felt by many students about the events in Gaza. It is painful to observe the suffering of the civilian population. Like Professor [Rick] Trainor of Universities UK, who speaks for the sector as a whole, I supported calls for an end to the conflict. As he has said, many of the casualties have occurred in educational establishments. Wherever in the world scholars or their institutions are threatened, or their lives are disrupted by conflict, I believe all parties should respect the integrity of scholarship and intellectual and academic freedom, and should work to minimise suffering”.
The agreement with students includes establishing a working party to look at socially responsible investments that will be “content to receive” proposals about disinvestment from companies implicated in the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
Michael Deas, a third-year environmental policy student involved in the occupation, said: “We’re delighted with the result, although nothing we could have done would ever have been enough. It’s a real victory for student activism, particularly forcing the director into making a statement.
“We would encourage other students to take this sort of action and have the confidence to do so.”
More than 80 students at Oxford occupied part of the historic Bodleian building today to demand that the university release a statement condemning the attack on Gaza, and cancel a lecture series at Balliol College inaugurated by Shimon Peres, the president of Israel.
At Warwick, students started an occupation last night demanding the university sever links with companies supplying equipment used in the conflict.
At King’s College London, students have demanded the cancellation of an honorary degree for Peres, a demand rejected by the university. Trainor, the vice-chancellor of King’s and president of the vice-chancellors’ umbrella group, Universities UK, has said: “UUK supports calls for an end to the conflict in and beyond Gaza. We are particularly aware that many of the civilian casualties have occurred in educational establishments.
“The UK’s universities are resolutely committed to the right to education, enshrined in the UN universal declaration of human rights. Higher education, in particular, is a global activity and we value our academic links with universities all over the world.
“The international nature of higher education means it is a force for understanding, tolerance and respect between peoples.”
Students have also protested at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Birmingham, Essex and Sussex.
Simon Englert, a student at the University of Sussex, said: “The atmosphere is very good, and everybody there is absolutely committed to what we’re doing.
“Lots of different political stances are represented in the room. It has been a very good and interesting exercise, building a united front and agreeing on tactics.
“There has been a very uncomfortable silence in general about what’s happened and is happening in Gaza. We feel there should be concrete action, and the university making a statement would be symbolic and strong.”
Oxford students hold sit-in to demand university condemns Gaza op
01.22.2009 | Haaretz
By Micah Smith and Haaretz Service
More than 80 students on Thursday took over one of Oxford University’s buildings to demand the university releases a statement condemning Israel’s recent offensive against Hamas in Gaza.
“Palestinians have the same rights as we do, including the right to education as enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights,” a spokesperson said.
Students at the London School of Economics this week also occupied one of their university’s buildings in protest against the 3-week campaign in Gaza. They only ended this after the LSE’s director agreed to meet a number of their demands.
Over 1,250 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed the operation, which Israel launched in order to combat Hamas rocket fire against its South.
The campaign sparked an international outcry, and many protests were held at universities across the world.
The spokesperson at the Oxford sit-in added: “It is not a matter of politics, it is a matter of humanity.”