Since 9pm on Wednesday a group of students has been occupying a room at the University of Nottingham in solidarity with the people of Gaza. The students have published a list of demands that include that the university of Nottingham cut its financial ties with the arms industry, that 'academic' aid be sent to Gaza, and that there be no repercussions for those involved in the occupation.
Professor Noam Chomsky has sent the students a message of support stating that he was "very pleased to learn about your courageous and honorable actions, particularly significant because of the crucial British contribution to the savage onslaught on Gaza... I hope you have the greatest success in arousing public opinion and bringing these monstrous crimes to an end."
Update 01/02/09: The occupation has been violently evicted by university security. At around 6pm around 10 security staff used force to remove the occupants into the snow outside. Students were made to wait in the cold whilst they went in one by one to pick up belongings. They were also forced to give ID in order to be allowed entry.
National Feature: Over a dozen university occupations for Palestine
Newswire: Nottingham University Students Occupation in Solidarity with Gaza 1 | 2 | Minipodcast from the third night of the occupation at Nottingham Uni | Petition to support Occupation Nottingham | Riseup Radio Report on day one of the Occupation of Nottingham University | Breaking News: Student Occupation at Nottingham University
On Fri 30th, Alan Simpson MP addressed the occupied lecture theatre saying "The world only changes for the better when those who have voices stand up alongside those who do not. So it is with Gaza. Congratulations on your stand and your solidarity."
The occupiers demand:
1 STATEMENT - That the University issue an official statement to the press condemning the recent and continuing atrocities perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza Strip, acknowledging particularly the effect on educational institutions, such as the bombing of the Gaza Islamic University.
The University should officially 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 PODCAST/ DEC APPEAL - That an alternative podcast be broadcast on the University Portal that addresses the errors and bias of the one already posted. The University website should also carry the DEC charities appeal, in protest at the refusal of the BBC and Sky to broadcast it.
The University has allowed its official podcast to be a vehicle for inaccurate and partisan information in an attempt to justify the Israeli atrocities visited on the people of Gaza. We as a university have a duty to uphold the principles of human dignity, solidarity and international conventions. That this biased account remains unchallenged is unacceptable.
3 SCHOLARSHIPS – That the University grant a minimum of ten fully-funded scholarships to Palestinian students from Gaza University -which was bombed by the Israeli military.
This will give students from Gaza the opportunity for an education, which this latest attack and the continuing blockade has denied them.
4 ACADEMIC AID – That the University provide academic aid to universities and schools in the Gaza strip, in the form of:
a) Donation of old books, computers or other surplus teaching/administrative/educational resources, with the shipping of these resources be paid for by the University of Nottingham.
b) Establishment of a twinning programme with universities in Gaza, in solidarity with their plight.
5 REMOVE STARBUCKS – That the University terminate the vending of Starbucks coffee in Hallward Library and replace it with a fairtrade alternative.
This company is guilty of extensive and documented unethical breaches and its CEO has been a public supporter of the Israeli Government policies in the Occupied Territories. The University, despite its fairtrade status and without consulting its students, introduced Starbucks coffee. It has since insisted on Starbucks’ continued presence despite majority opposition in a student poll, a persistent protest campaign and a motion in the Students Union condemning the presence of Starbucks.
6 DISINVESTMENT – That the University of Nottingham cease to invest directly or indirectly in companies complicit in human rights abuses in the Gaza strip and internationally. The University authorities should instruct all financial companies managing University endowment investments & pension schemes to ensure complete disinvestment of University funds from Arms Companies that sell military equipment to Israel (such as the Smiths Group and BAE Systems). 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.
7 END COMPLICITY - 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.
The University should review and phase-out research programs and collaboration with such companies. It is unethical for the University to provide a platform and conduct research for companies that are complicit in the massacre of civilians, war crimes and gross violations of international law.
8 THE RIGHT TO PROTEST - That there be no legal, financial, or academic repercussions taken against anyone involved in or supporting this protest. Those involved in this occupation must be guaranteed respect of their fundamental rights, including freedom of assembly, expression, and movement in and out of the occupied space.
This will be a non-violent and inclusive protest. All at the University of Nottingham are encouraged to participate. During the occupation we will adhere to the same codes of personal conduct that are expected of us as members of the academic community. Any disruption to our peers’ education is expressly against our wishes and we will respect the rights of others to disagree. Universities should be places where freedom of expression, debate and critical discourse are encouraged, and the student movement in the UK and internationally has a proud tradition of protest and solidarity actions against social injustice.
Nottingham University in Solidarity with Gaza