On Monday 16/02/2009, the student occupation of Edinburgh Uni’s George Square Lecture Theatre was brought to an end, following a clear victory for the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel. Please check out the students’ blog at http://edinburghunioccupation.wordpress.com/

As of today, student activists at the University of St. Andrews are now occupying one of the uni’s buildings. They will end their action when the authorities commit to aiding Gaza and taking action against companies who are complicit in the criminal actions of the Israeli state.

The students have issued the following statement:

We, the concerned students of the University of St. Andrews demand that the university condemns the illegal bombing and genocide in Gaza and Israel’s indiscriminate targeting of civilians. In particular, as an educational establishment we urge that it shows practical solidarity with the Islamic university of Gaza and other schools and colleges damaged during the bombing.

We believe that now is the time for the university to firmly and unilaterally cut all financial and commercial ties with any companies  that in any way supports the apartheid state of Israel. The university has led the way in adopting a policy of ethical investment. Now is the time for students, staff and management to show that we do not lack the courage to condemn crimes against humanity, nor the generosity to help those who are in such desperate need. Specifically we demand that the university:

  1. Immediately suspends and pledges not to renew its contract with Eden Springs, the Israeli water company which illegally steals water from the Golan Heights. It is not enough that this contract run out this year, it must be canceled now.
  2. Investigates its million pound research contracts with defense companies and the ministry of defense. Centrally, that the university sets up a review seeking to find replacement funding for the research contracts with BAE systems and its extensive links to Accenture. Both have close ties with the apartheid regime of Israel.
  3. Sets up a scholarship program for Palestinian Students and commits to a minimum of 10 scholarships. This would send out an important symbolic message that we will not turn a blind eye to the Palestinian students who are unable to study because of the attacks on educational infrastructure and constant state of terror which prevents students from attending university.
  4. Organizes a collection on campus, including a broadcasting of the DEC appeal, for aid for Gaza, makes available non-monetary aid such as course books, desks etc. and also establishes links with the Islamic University of Gaza in order to find out how it might aid with reconstruction.
  5. Following the letter signed by fifty medical students, that Bute medical school provides medical aid for Palestine in the form of medical equipment and drugs and through supporting organizations such as medical aid for Palestine (supported by Medsin)

In all of these measure the university might link up with other Scottish and English universities who are also adopting similar policies in order to develop a common, humanitarian and equitable approach to Israeli companies and those linked to its war machine and to the Palestinian people and its ravaged educational infrastructure.

Many thanks,
St Andrews Univeresity Student Occupation

11 a.m.

Tuesday

10/02/2009

Glasgow University

Computer Science building

(Next to QMU, just off Lilybank Terrace)

Bring flags and food for the students in occupation!

FREE FREE PALESTINE

As of 2pm today, around 60 students are occupying the top floor of the Computer Science building at Glasgow University. For full reports from inside the occupation please go to…

glasgowunioccupation.blogspot.com

The students of the Strathclyde Uni occupation were coincidentally meeting at the same time as the GU comrades’ action began. Our feelings of solidarity and inspiration were completely unanimous. Later, SU students joined others from GU and beyond in demonstrating our support outside the Computer Science facility.

A comment on the circumstances: Our occupation suffered serious obstacles, such as an inital over-reaction by security staff, the prinicpal absenting himself to go for a curry, and our having to go through 3 rounds of negotiations. But Glasgow Uni’s decision makers have gone even further in their use of unacceptable tactics. Not only were diffculties encountered in trying to pass small quantities of food and blankets to our friends, but at one point they were trying to stop medicines from getting through!

Despite the authorities’ cheap tricks, the students of the Occupation remain defiant and determined.

The struggle continues…

Following the overnight continuation of our occupation and a hugely succesful solidarity rally on the steps of the McCance, University of Strathclyde Principal Andrew Hamnett has conceded the following:

“1. We will not place any further orders with Eden Springs for operational reasons.

2. Funds for 1-3 scholarships.

3. Co-operation between students and management in posting Gaza Appeal on campus. Link on Uni website advertising Gaza Appeal.

4. Press Release reiterating Strath Uni longstanding relationship with the University of Gaza.”

We have also secured the uni’s commitment to a public debate between representatives of BAE Systems and anti-war student activists, on the weapons manufacturers’ ethical credentials and whether the talents of our engineering students should be used for BAE’s benefit.

We consider this a victory and have already done a lap of the uni in celebration. We are simultaneously elated, exhausted and looking ahead to the battles to come. The struggle must continue until BAE is evicted from Strathclyde and freedom and justice is secured for the people of Palestine.

Today we have taken a tiny step towards the final victory.

Solidarity forever,

The Strathclyde Uni Occupation

Please come along to show your support:

Thursday 05/02/2009

11 a.m.

McCance Building

16 Richmond St

Free Palestine!

Facebook: http://www.tinyurl.com/occupationstrathclyde

Email: strathclydeoccupation@googlemail.com

Check the pics and send us your messages of solidarity!

After some negotiations with the Secretary of Strathclyde University, the Stop the War group,  Action Palestine, the Libyan Society, some students from SUMSA and independent people have decided to continue occupying the McCance Buidling.

People have been in the building all night, in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The university management merely made vague promises on some of our demands, but it was stongly felt that it would be frutiless to stand down now. Other universities have had all of their demands met, including Dundee this morning who had every single demand met.

1) Cancel the contract with Eden Springs- management claimed never to have heard of our protest and said that they would look in to this in 2 weeks at a management meeting. We propose that a management meeting is convened a lot sooner.

2) Refuse BAE funding and invesigate alternative sources of funding for the Engineering Department. – Management will not even consider a proposed review of funding.

3) Fund and facilitate 50 scholarships for Palestinian students. – Management have said that they will consider this, although claim that the university do not have sufficient funds. Strathclyde university have, in fact, had a surplus in the bank for nine of the past ten years.

4) Solidarity with the Islamic University of Gaza: write a letter of support; twin Strathclyde with the university, and aid in its rebuilding – Managment did consider this.

5) Condemn the BBC for not showing the DEC appeal; show the appeal in lecture theatres and organise a fundraising day on campus.

6) Oppose Israeli academics who promote military research on campus. – Management said they would “look in to this.”

We need as much support as possible right now!

Please also see occupations.org.uk and the pulsemedia and indymedia articles!

Occupation

February 4, 2009

Following a rally and demo which started at 2pm on Wednesday 04/02/2009, a large number of University of Strathclyde students are occupying the registry hall in McCance Building. There are 60 people sitting-in in the university’s administrative building. The group includes members of Action Palestine, the Libyan Society, Stop the War, Malaysian Society and SUMSA, as well as many individuals.

Go to tinyurl.com/strathclydeoccupation for some photos.

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