Thursday, 12 February 2009
The student occupation of the
Here is a copy of the final signed agreement between students of the occupation and the University management:
Please review the following points, following today’s negotiations, and sign the bottom to confirm a mutual understanding.
1. Definitely by the end of February, desirably by next week, to have an official day of collection for the DEC.
2. The University is committed to this (hopefully in conjunction with SRC)
3. A web page will be devoted to the day, with a link to the advert
4. An E-mail is to be sent out to all students and staff (1 email a few days before, and another 24 hours before)
5. The University management will encourage all lecturers to show advert in lecture theatres – this is at the discretion of lecturers and it will be their choice whether or not they show the DEC appeal.
1. The University will work with appropriate parties to publicise its current international scholarships within
2. Alongside the DEC appeal, donations will be sought to support scholarships for students from
3. The University will consider part-funding this by using a similar fee waiving scheme as
4. The University would like to work to create a
1. The University will make its best efforts to donate old resources
2. The University is currently speaking to other universities (such as LSE and King’s College) to work through the logistics. The University will get back to the students within 7 days.
3. The University wants the occupiers to contact the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) to work with them in organising a video conference and to put them in contact with David Newall (Secretary of Court) and vice versa, to work out what resources they need.
4. Currently surplus materials are recycled – the University will look at ways to modify existing contracts, or investigate how the companies involved could be included in the donation of said resources.
The delegates have noted that senior university management have committed to further meetings for serious, continuing discussions including the SRC. The University understands the specific and serious concerns students have regarding Eden Springs, and is willing to engage in further discussions over the suppliers of water to the University campus. These should take place no later than Friday 27th February.
Further to this we require a commitment to publish details (as transparent, full and up to date as possible) of all university investments made by the university, and all research funding received by the university, in compliance with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, in accordance with, and in the context of, the law. There will be a meeting between university management and the students of the occupation to discuss the progress that has been made after 20 working days.
With this understanding the students will bring the current occupation to an end.
After collecting over 600 signatures, the student movement has the right to call for an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the Students’ Representatives’ Council, to debate how
It is crucial to recognise that occupation is an entirely legitimate tactic. By taking this action we have shown that serious direct action can achieve results. Our occupation has been an undoubted success. It has been a victory for all those showing solidarity with the people of
Wednesday, 11 February 2009
We're writing to you in solidarity for your current occupation of Glasgow University in solidarity with Gaza. We started to occupy the main lecture theatre here at Edinburgh University at 1pm today. That makes us the 24th University in the UK to join this mass movement! We have a blog set up at http://edinburghunioccupation.
Please do get in touch on edinburghunioccupation@
Edinburgh University student occupation.
The students of the Glasgow University Occupation
A delegation from the liberated space will be meeting with the Principal Sir Muir Russell, Head of Corporate Communications Susan Stewart and Secretary of the University Court David Newell today at 12 noon in the Fraser building on behalf of the people of Gaza and over 1000 staff and students on campus who are in solidarity with their suffering. Please come to the demo at 11am and be present outside the Fraser building at 12 noon to provide visible and vocal support!
As stated, there will be also be a press conference today and a visit from the Rt Hon Charles Kennedy, University Rector.
Here's some of the attention we've had so far. It's probably necessary to clarify a few things. There was a demonstration of around a hundred people around the Uni on Monday, around 60 of whom joined the occupation (the GU Guardian reporting team also entered the building with us). 40 of these people stayed in the building and have been holding the liberated space since then. We have always been pushing for negotiations and if these have not taken place it has been due to difficulties on the side of the management. We have also conducted our action in a peaceful and lawful manner and have at no point disrupted the business of students or staff.
Scotland Today, Tuesday 10th Feb, 6pm: http://news.stv.tv/scotland/videoPlayer-4/#video-choice
We've heard we we were also featured on BBC Scotland.
We'd like to post a pertinent message from Aaron Franks:
I'm writing in support of the occupiers in the Computing Science Building and believe the SRC's position as stated on the SRC homepage misses a crucial point. While the issues concerning Palestine, Gaza in particular, and Israel are indeed complex, certain things are brutally and unavoidably clear.
The Israeli war against Gazans was disproportionate by design, and links between institutions like University of Glasgow, BAE, and Qinetiq (arms manufacturers) are part of that design. The UN is in the process of preparing investigations on the Israeli targeting of civilians with white phosphorus ammunition (illegal). The use of cluster bombs, while "legal" strictly speaking, cannot be unchallenged either.
The University of Glasgow must break any commercial or institutional ties with known weapons traders and manufacturers, and as the student occupation currently in the Computing Building is in support of that, I see no contradiction in the SRC supporting them while also representing the interests of the 24 000 students here.
PhD Human Geography
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
I never envisaged that just weeks after my return that Israel would embark on such a savage sustained attack on Gaza and its people leaving 1,3OO people dead and many more wounded . I have been left devasted by this and am even more committed to informing all I know to the plight of the people of Gaza and the disgraceful wall of silence practiced by some .
The actions of the people taking part in the sit in at Glasgow University are borne out of reasons I have mentioned above and sheer frustration at the inaction of many who could do something to highlight the situation in Gaza today and the ongoing situation of Palestinians in general .
I would ask that the University look seriously at the suggestions made by the group, meet with them , I am happy to attend and in the name of justice and humanity help the people of Gaza and Palestine
Sandra White MSP
Glasgow University Rector, Charles Kennedy M.P, has agreed to visit us here at the occupied space on the top floor of the Computing Science Building. Mr Kennedy gave assurances at a debate over the DEC Gaza appeal at the Glasgow University Union earlier this evening that he will be visiting at some point tomorrow morning to discuss our demands. We will be holding a press conference at this meeting. There will be a demonstration on campus at 11 am tomorrow in support of our action and demands.
Glasgow University Student Occupation
Today, in the space of a few hours, dozens of supporters of the occupation rallied outside and collected the signatures of 350 students and 45 lecturers who affirmed their support for the people of Palestine and called for an Extraordinary General Meeting at the SRC over Gaza. It looks like this will be happening in the next ten days or so!
We also now have over 1000 signatures across our original petitions: (http://www.gopetition.co.uk/petitions/dec-gaza-crisis-appeal/signatures.html) and (http://www.gopetition.co.uk/petitions/the-blood-money-stops-now.html).
There was a large and visible presence on campus today, and an STV film crew turned up to film proceedings, as did a journalist from the Scotsman. Journalists from the GU Guardian and the Strathclyde Uni paper were also reporting. Later in the day, a journalist from Radio Clyde came to interview supporters outside (the University have not allowed press into the building at any point during the occupation). There was a 20-minute live interview with Radio Avaaz and a live five-minute interview with Sunny Govan Radio! (http://www.sunnygovancommunitymedia.org/). We are expecting more media coverage tomorrow, including journalists from the Herald and Sunny Govan.
There have been countless messages of support from around Scotland, the UK and the world. Those sending the messages have included: MSPs such as Bill Kidd, Sandra White and Pauline McNeil - Iain Ferguson, candidate for President, UCU Scotland - numerous academics - Lindsay German, National Convenor Stop the War Coalition - Scottish Jews for a Just Peace - Alex Mosson, former Lord Provost of Glasgow and honorary doctorate of Glasgow University - Scottish Afghan Society - Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign - Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees - GU Action Palestine - Aamer Anwar, human rights lawyer - Michael Lavalette, Preston City Councillor - Tommy Sheridan, Solidarity Scotland - UNITE Scottish Housing Branch - Scotland Against Criminalising Communities - Colin Turbett, Unison North Ayrshire - Katy Clark, Labour MP, North Ayshire and Arran - Scottish Socialist Party
There was a great victory today on campus as protesting students shut down a BAE stall at an intern fair! This follows the precedent around the UK as students around the country have shown that death merchants are not welcome in places of learning - several English student unions have already voted to ban arms companies from promoting themselves in their universities. Students had a noise demo outside the Bute hall and stopped BAE Systems from recruiting anyone today as University staff sealed off the building in response. Students have been demonstrating and informing people all over campus all day and are still outside making noise as I type this at 21:20! The positive response they have received from students and staff has been overwhelming.
We had a lovely surprise this afternoon when Danny Alderslowe, Green Councillor for Southside Central, paid us a visit! Danny brought up some fruit and cereal bars which were greatly appreciated, as was his message of support. More importantly, he also spent time working on the Green Party's official response and contacting a whole host of political and media contacts. He's been contacting the management directly and should be speaking at the demonstration tomorrow.
Following a debate tonight in the GUU over the BBC's decision not to show the DEC appeal, we have an assurance that the Rt Hon Charles Kennedy, University Rector, will be coming to the liberated space tomorrow to meet the occupiers and discuss what's been happening! We will also be holding a press conference (see press release).
Thank you for your message regarding a meeting with the Principal. I have discussed this with him, and he is very happy to meet with up to five delegates from the group. The meeting would not take place in the computer science building, but I would give you a complete assurance that those attending would be allowed to return to occupied space. Our view is that there is no need to appoint a chair for this meeting, and that it will not be helpful to have a video tape running.
I have included below a statement that the Principal asked me to send you just a few minutes before your own email arrived. As well as repeating his willingness to meet, it refers to the University's investment policy, which, among other things, he is happy to explore with you.
Message from the Principal
When you first submitted your petitions, I said I was willing to meet with representatives of your group to discuss the issues that concern you. I am sorry you have not accepted that offer.
I have attached the response that I initially made to your demands and petitions. One point that was not covered in this was investment policy. On that point I would advise you that the University has no direct investment in the companies you have identified as being of concern to you, and that it requires all of its investment managers to have a Socially Responsible Investment Policy.
As David Newall and Susan Stewart advised you this morning, I remain willing to meet with representatives of the group. I look forward to hearing from you.
We are disappointed with the university's decision to restrict freedom of movement and we find that this restricts the concessions we can make to you and all agree that you have backed us into a corner. We would like to make it clear, once again, that we are more than willing to negotiate and come to a reasonable compromise which seems balanced and ethical with regards to the situation in Palestine. We also feel that the relations of trust have broken down as in our meeting this morning it was agreed that it would be acceptable for two people to exit and re-enter the building so that we could buy food. This agreement was broken by university security. We would now like to propose a meeting take place with the principal and with a delegation of people from our group. As you know this is a compromise on our behalf and as a result we have our own conditions with which we would like you to comply:
1. The meeting must take place in the computer science building, however, not necessarily in the occupation itself. This is because we have been told we have no freedom of movement.
2. There will be a minimum of five delegates. We also have the right to alternate our delegates as we see fit.
3. The delegates will be permitted to return to the group whenever they see fit.
4. We must have signed confirmation that the delegators will be able to return to the occupied space. If this promise is reneged, as other promises have been, then all agreements from the meeting will be void.
5. We would like to video tape the meeting.
6. We must choose the chair.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Glasgow University Student Occupation.
DEMO FOR PALESTINE
WEDNESDAY 11th FEBRUARY
IN FRONT OF THE OCCUPIED COMPUTING SCIENCE BUILDING, GLASGOW UNIVERSITY
We, Glasgow University students, have been occupying the Computing Science Building at Glasgow University, in solidarity with the people of Gaza and against our University’s investment and research links with arms companies, for approximately 24 hours.
At approximately 9.30 am this morning we met with two representatives of the Universities management team, Susan Stewart (Head of Corporate Communications) and David Newall (Secretary of the court) and a representative of University Security, Jim Kane. We again reiterated our demands, including the basic demand for freedom of movement and assembly for people into and out of the occupied space. The University management were reticent to agree to any of our demands. At the meeting we were given a guarantee that two people at a time would be allowed to leave the space in order to pick up food and supplies and would not be barred from re-entering. 10 minutes after this agreement was made two students leaving for food for the occupation were told that they would be not allowed back in. This has led to a break down of trust between we, the occupation and the University management and has undermined our ability to compromise.
At 11 am a rally of support, of some 60 students, took place outside the Computing Science Building. There will be another rally and demonstration at the same time tomorrow.
At 12noon the management responded via email to our demands. The University, by refusing entry to the occupied space to anyone, is clearly restricting the right of the press, legal representatives, and other students to hear our demands and discuss the occupation. The University have yet to meet any of our demands and the Principal, Muir Russell, is refusing to meet within the occupied space despite denying us freedom to leave and re-enter.
David Lynch: 07838661699
Raymie Kiernan: 07920403766
Eileen Boyle : 07884345731
As agreed this morning, I am writing in response to your four demands from yesterday, as follows.
1 No disciplinary academic or legal repercussions for anyone involved in or supporting the occupation.
There will be no disciplinary or legal repercussions so long as the protest remains peaceful and legal.
2. Those involved in occupation are guaranteed respect for their fundamental rights including freedom of assembly, expression and movement in and out of occupied space
The University respects fully the fundamental rights of freedom of assembly and freedom of expression. However, we cannot condone the occupation of University accommodation. While we are happy to allow food to be delivered to you, anyone leaving the occupation will not regain access. Nor can we allow access to the occupied space by anyone else.
3. Occupation given uninterrupted access to elec, water, internet access (wifi password)
You have access to water, electricity and toilets. We understand you already have internet access.
4. Principal to come to occupied space in order to discuss our demands with all members of occupation (we provide chair)
The Principal will not attend occupied space, but is willing to meet with representatives of the group, as early as is convenient and at a venue and in terms to be agreed. I look forward to receiving your response to this suggestion.
Dear fellow students of Glasgow University,
We would like to express our sincere thanks and deep appreciation for all your conscious efforts, endeavours and demands to support the right to education, justice and freedom in Palestine.
We wholeheartedly support your peaceful protests against the blanket bombing of Gaza in general and the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) in particular which suffered extensive destruction and damage to all its buildings, academic facilities. Additionally more than 20,000 students, whose families have been agonizing from the suffocating siege of Gaza, have lost some members of their families and many others have lost their houses.
With great respect and admiration, we have been following all activities taking place in 19 British universities. Your brave campaign has strengthened both our hope and will that we are not alone in this just battle against unprecedented blatant injustices and flagrant violation of human in Palestine.
We are absolutely proud of you all and proud of your solidarity and support campaign for the right to education in Palestine which gives us bright light in the heart of the military occupation darkness.
We wish you full success in your supportive campaign and in achieving all your sensible demands which show a high level of awareness and commitment to defend basic human rights in Gaza at a time of obvious media bias and hypocrisy of many governments.
We hope to cooperate with you soon to establish mutual academic cooperation between our academic institutions. In this regard, we confirm our high interest and strong willingness to provide you with any information, facts, plans, courses, etc related to your practical demands.
In solidarity with Glasgow university students in Occupation
Dr Kamalain Sha'ath
President, The Islamic University of Gaza
Tel: 970 8 282 3310
Fax: 970 8 286 3552
Monday, 9 February 2009
DEMO FOR PALESTINE
TUESDAY 10th FEBRUARY
IN FRONT OF THE OCCUPIED COMPUTING SCIENCE BUILDING, GLASGOW UNIVERSITY
We, Glasgow University students, have been occupying the Computing Science building since 2pm in a non-violent protest over the University’s links to Israeli companies complicit in the ongoing atrocities against the Palestinian people. Our aim is not to disrupt the running of the university but to highlight the connections between the University, Israeli companies and International arms companies such as BAE Systems.
We have submitted a list of demands to the University Principal who is yet to respond. The University has restricted our freedom of movement into and out of the occupied space. The freedom of the press has been restricted- no journalists have been allowed to meet with us. We call on all journalists to visit us here, at the occupied space, on the top floor of the Computing Science building.
A growing number of supporters showing solidarity with the occupation are gathering outside. They have also been denied access, and anyone leaving the building is not allowed to re-enter.
A demonstration has been called in support of the demands of the student occupation. It will assemble from 11am onwards tomorrow outside the Computing Science Department at Glasgow University.
The list of supporters of the occupation so far include:
Scottish Jews for a Just Peace; Alex Mosson - former Lord Provost of Glasgow; Michael Lavalette – Preston City Councillor; Aamer Anwar – Human Rights Lawyer; Lindsay German – National Convenor Stop the War Coalition UK; Iain Ferguson presidential candidate for UCU Scotland (personal capacity); Scottish Afghan Society; Glasgow Palestine Human Rights Campaign; Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees; Glasgow Stop the War Coalition; GU Action Palestine;
Students begin the 23rd university occupation in Britain in the past 3 weeks
At 2pm this afternoon over 50 students at the University of Glasgow went into occupation to protest against the current siege of Gaza, in solidarity with the Palestinians, and against the involvement of arms manufacturers at our university. After weeks of campaigning, we presented the Principal with a set of demands (following at the end of this press release) and petitions signed by over one thousand Glasgow University students and staff in support of the people of Gaza. Following an unsatisfactory response from the Principal Sir Muir Russell we have decided to occupy the Computing Science building at the university. The university has proven funding and investment links to BAE systems and other arms manufacturers who supply weapons to the state of Israel. The Computing Science department is one of the departments with major links to BAE systems. This action is taking place against the background of a wave of successful occupations around Britain.
The severing of links between the university and arms manufacturers, such as BAE Systems.
An official university statement condemning the Israeli army’s atrocities in Gaza.
A boycott of all Israeli produce on campus, such as Eden Springs water.
Donations of academic resources to help rebuild Gaza’s battered schools and universities.
A day of fundraising across campus in support of the DEC appeal.
A commitment to fund scholarships for Palestinian students.
We, the students, will remain in occupation indefinitely until our demands are met.
David Lynch: 07838661699
Raymie Kiernan: 07920403766
Eileen Boyle : 07884345731
1. Written confirmation that there will be no disciplinary, academic or legal repercussions for anyone involved in or supporting the occupation
2. That those involved in the occupation are guaranteed respect for their fundamental rights, including freedom of assembly, expression, and movement in and out of the occupied space
3. That the occupation is given uninterrupted access to electricity, water, internet access (including appropriate wifi passwords) and other amenities as appropriate
4. That the principal meet those involved in the occupation at the occupied space to discuss our substantive demands
1. STATEMENT - That the University release a statement unequivocally condemning Israeli military action in Palestine, including the despicable bombing of the Islamic University of Gaza. The University should specifically 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. The University should encourage other universities to make such statements, as well as informing the UK and Israeli governments.
2. DEC APPEAL - That the University publicise the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) appeal for Gaza by way of a visible message on the main University website, an email to all students and staff and an announcement at all lectures on campus
3. BOYCOTT - That the University commences with immediate effect a boycott of all Israeli goods (including goods manufactured or supplied by Israeli owned or operated companies) on campus, including in particular Eden Springs water. Further, that the University bans all companies involved in the supply of military equipment to Israel (such as BAE Systems, the Smiths Group and Caterpillar) from all university premises, specifically recruitment events.
4. DISINVESTMENT - That the University disinvests from BAE Systems, Westland helicopters, Lockheed Martin and all other firms or affiliates involved in arms research, manufacture or supply. The University authorities should instruct all financial companies managing University endowment investments & pension schemes to ensure complete disinvestment of University funds from the armaments industry. Such disinvestment is particularly important in light of the fact that these weapons have been used to massacre civilians, commit war crimes and violate international law. Investing in such companies is completely unacceptable.
5. ETHICAL INVESTMENT POLICY - That the University alter its ethical investment policy to ensure such irresponsible and indefensible investment does not occur in future, and releases a statement affirming its commitment to peaceful research and investment in the community. The new ethical investment policy should be developed in dialogue with the student community, such conversation involving specifically the SRC calling an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM).
6. FUNDRAISING - That the University hold a day of fundraising to raise money for the humanitarian effort in Gaza.
We demand that the University commit to a specific date on which fundraising will take place, such efforts being campus-wide and well advertised.
7. ACADEMIC AID - That the University provide academic aid to universities and schools in the Gaza strip, in the form of:
a) The donation of old books, computers and other surplus teaching/administrative/ educational resources, with the shipping of these resources being paid for by the University of Glasgow.
b) The establishment of a twinning programme with universities in Gaza, in solidarity with their plight
8. SCHOLARSHIPS - That the University set up a scholarship scheme which will provide full funding for at least ten Palestinian students to attend the University.
The Principal’s response in this regard is unacceptable. We demand that new scholarships be set up specifically for Palestinian students, in light of the incredible difficulty in securing education in Palestine at present as a result of occupation and recent military action.
9. BOYCOTT ISRAELI ACADEMICS – That the University refuse an academic platform to all Israeli academics who have refused to speak out in condemnation of the recent actions of the Israeli state in Palestine. The University must not become a locus for the dissemination of racist ideology and must take active steps to prevent the proliferation of misinformation. In developing an appropriate policy in this regard, the documentation of the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine (BRICUP) will be relevant.
The occupation would like to make clear that the above demands are issued with the intention of expressing our condemnation of the actions of the Israeli state and in solidarity with the people of Palestine. They are in no way directed against or intended to injure the ordinary people of Israel, many of whom support this and similar actions which have taken place throughout the UK in recent weeks.
The Occupying Students of Glasgow University.