Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Support the Sheffield Uni occupation!

Sheffield university are now in their 8th day of occupation! Please take a minute to help them out by copying and pasting the following text into and email (or writing your own) and sending it to the Vice Chancellor Keith Burnett at vc@sheffield.ac.uk to put some pressure on him to open up negotiations! CC to sheffieldoccupation@google
mail.com, and to Burnett's secretary at r.sharples@sheffield.ac.uk

Professor Burnett -

I understand that, despite a verbal agreement from yourself, negotiations involving the student occupiers and other interested parties are yet to take place. I further understand that the proposed negotiation process, if it takes place at all, will take place without input from the occupiers.

I believe that a negotiation process centrally involving the occupiers (as well as other relevant organisations such as the Palestine Society) is in the interests of all involved, as it is clearly the only way to move the situation forward towards a satisfactory conclusion.

I therefore call on you to listen to the increasing student pressure (on campus and elsewhere) for negotiations around the campaign demands.


Monday, 23 March 2009

Feedback from the last meeting.

Detailed minutes can be found in the Sussex occupation gmail account. This is what we're busy with at the moment...

A big organisational meeting with all involved groups and people has been called for Thursday of week one (23/04). We will be deciding on a group name and identity among other things - write the date down now!

There will be a referendum next term on the issue of a union boycott of Israeli goods. The boycott was the most controversial of all of the occupation demands with much debate and diverse opinion on the useful extent and effectiveness of this tactic. We want to see this continue to be a lively topic engaging students across campus in the run-up to the referendum and to raise people's awareness of the underlying issues... contact the boycott and divestment group at campaigns@ussu.sussex.ac.uk to get involved in planning the campaign.

The Brighton-Tubas friendship and solidarity group will be hosting another delegation of students from Al Quds university (with which Sussex is twinned) on the 20th April (1st week of term). We need to plan events! To get involved or if you have any ideas for activities, or know of any interested groups, societies, academics or departments please contact simon4_@hotmail.com.

Sheffield university are still in occupation. A message of solidarity was sent to them last week (see blog). They are hosting a panel of members of other occupations this Tuesday from 4pm. If anyone would like to go down and represent Sussex (or write a brief account of the Sussex occupation with tips and advice) please let Leila know asap (leila.elqawas@gmail.com) for contact details.

There will be a national gathering in London (UCL) on the 18th April to draw together people from the occupations and other areas of the student movement and think about where we go from here. Everyone is welcome to be a part of the organisation (whether you were involved in the occupations or not): add your name to the organising list by emailing studentcoordination@gmail.com, or contact the national liaison group at sussexnational@gmail.com.

We want to set up a post-occupation website that can function as both a publicity and an organising tool. If you have any ideas or would like to get involved please contact the publicity group at abcs20@sussex.ac.uk.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Statement sent to Sheffield Occupation

To the Sheffield occupation,

The movement born out of the successful student occupation at the University of Sussex gives our wholehearted support and good wishes to the Sheffield occupation. We are disappointed by the heavy-handedness and lack of regard with which the University of Sheffield has treated you, and appalled by the lack of support you have been shown by your own Students' Union. The determination that you continue to show despite these obstacles is testament to the urgency and importance of your objectives and an inspiration to all of us working towards the same ends. We are publicising your actions and your petition among our members and supporters on campus and elsewhere. Please remember that your work is not unrecognised and there are thousands of university students and staff across the country who support your actions and stand in solidarity with you. We know from our own experience that despite the adversity that you face, these aims are realistic and achievable and are worth fighting for. Please let us know if there is anything further that we can do to help.

Yours in solidarity,

The students and staff of the University of Sussex movement.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Meeting and events today and updates.

The last meeting before the easter break will take place today at 2pm (not 4pm as previously). Please come along to figure out how we can make use of this time. Meet Falmer common room.

Where we're at at the moment:

Boycott and divestment working group - have a list of stocks and shares worth £4m of uni investment. We are also liaising with Corporate Watch. Easter will be a time for research. The movement to put traffic light stickers on all produce is currently going through.
Events - Big event highlighting ethical investment issues being planned for next year. There is also talk of a video-link Q&A with a very prominent anti-war academic. Lots of work required to organise - please come and get involved.
Surplus resources - Efforts are currently being made to co-ordinate things on the national level. Help welcomed.
National liaison - We are currently involved in helping to co-ordinate a national student congress on the 18th of April. Open organisation: please email sussexnational@gmail.com to help or add your email to the national list at studentcoordination@gmail.com.

Events today:

Prominent Israeli Socialist Eric Lee - Arts A103 6pm, Wednesday 18th.
Eric Lee will be talking on socialism in Israel. As a controversial figure with a background leading from trade unions and the mayor's office in New York to being a socialist author, journalist and lecturer in Israel, he'll definitely have an interesting perspective on issues in the middle east. Includes time for questions and answers.

Tonight's student night at the Cowley club will again be raising money for the Brighton-Tubas twinning project (who last week brought a women's delegation over from Al Quds university). Cheap organic beer and vegan food and open mic. Come down and celebrate the end of term!

Support to Sheffield:

The management of Sheffield uni have now locked the occupied building so that no one can enter and have threatened the occupation with a court injunction. They have also disrupted students by relocating lectures despite the occupation having made it clear that they wish lectures to continue as normal in the occupied space.

Please sign the petition here:

And copy and paste the following text (feel free to amend or add your own) to Vice Chancellor Keith Burnett at vc@sheffield.ac.uk CCing in Rowann Sharples, his personal secretary, at r.sharples@sheffield.ac.uk, and the occupation at sheffieldoccupation@googlemail.com.

Dear Professor Burnett -

We believe that your position of refusal to engage with the occupiers of the Hicks lecture theatres is entirely unreasonable. The occupation began as a response to your failure to respond to earlier correspondence well before the occupation took place; the onus was on you to continue negotiations and discussions in this manner, and your refusal to do so is what led the occupiers to conclude that direct action was the only option left to them.

Furthermore, the Student Union's statement of condemnation - upon which you base your refusal to negotiate - was predicated entirely on a falsehood. The occupiers have consistently express their willingness for lectures to take place in the occupied space, and indeed have taken it upon themselves to facilitate this despite University management's attempt to unilaterally relocate lectures. The vast majority of students and lecturers who have visited the occupied space have found it a welcoming, non-intimidating environment that would be in no way disruptive to learning and education.

An emergency meeting of the Student Union Executive Officers (which only reached its decision by a majority of 5-3) cannot possibly be held to be meaningfully representative of the wide layers of deeply felt student opinion around this issue. We call on you and other members of the University's senior management to immediately retract your position of refusal to negotiate with the occupiers and enter into open discussions with them.

Additionally we would like to condemn the heavy handed and overblown reaction by the management to the occupation with regard to threats received today in relation to legal action against participants.

Yours -

[Insert your name and contact details here]

You can also ring Rowann Sharples on (0114) 222 1006.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Sheffield occupied today!

Breaking news!

Two lecture theatres at Sheffield University have been occupied in solidarity with Palestine since 7pm this evening! Check out their blog at http://sheffoccupied.blogspot.com.

Slightly older news...

Newcastle have been successful in negotiating some of their demands following a short occupation of the fine arts building on their campus from 10th-11th March.

Having finally taken the decision to end the occupation with the demo following a whole month occupying various university buildings, Manchester Uni have made some progress in negotiations with the demand for the shipping of surplus resources having been fully met along with greater transparency over the university's investment portfolio. They also have a student slate standing for union election this Thursday.

There have also been news of two other student occupation actions in Okinawa, Japan (over lay-offs and course reductions) and in the Technological Institute of Puerto Rico, Manati (over closure of facilities and overpopulation of students).

General meeting this Wednesday is at 2pm!!! Meet Falmer Common Room.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Updates and events

What we have been doing:

On Thursday, a member of the boycott and divestment group spoke as part of a panel at the War on Want talk 'Banking on Bloodshed' updating us on progress relating to the occupation demands.

Last Friday we were honoured to have a talk from 19-year old Israeli student and war-refuser Tamar Katz, who was jailed several times for defying military conscription. She spoke of the incredible difficulties of political dissent including widespread social stigma, estrangement from family and friends, lack of organisational support due to the illegality of political criticism and media complicity in maintaining the occupation.

On Sunday a group of Sussex students blockaded the main depot of Carmel-Agrexco, which imports agricultural produce from illegal settlements in the West Bank to supply supermarkets across the UK. Several people blockaded the gates, locking themselves to ladders, and one person superglued themselves to the tarmac. Several trucks were unable to deliver produce to the depot, and no arrests were made. This direct action was carried out in solidarity with the students of Jayyous who were arrested when the Israeli military stormed their village on 18th February and who have called for a boycott. Since then, the village has been invaded two further times, with a curfew imposed on the town and residents also threatened with home demolitions.

Also on Sunday a representative from the occupation spoke on a panel at the Oxford Radical Forum with students from other occupations about the national wave and the potential for a new radical student movement. A national congress is planned for April 18th. To get involved in organising this event, contact the national liaison working group at sussexnational@gmail.com, and add your name to the organising list at studentcoordination@gmail.com.

We have also written an update for our fellow students on the progress that has been made on the implementation of our demands so far, which you can find here, or pinned to the door of Arts A2.

Don't forget to vote in the referendum to get rid of the military from our campus! Voting tomorrow and Thursday in the library.

What we have planned:

Tomorrow (Weds) there will be a party at the Cowley Club to raise money for the Brighton-Tubas twinning group. There will be cheap vegan food and drink from 7pm and an open mic...

This Thursday, the Women’s Delegation from the West Bank of Palestine will be visiting Sussex University, to relate their experiences as women living in the occupied territories. The speakers are Sirien, a student from Al-Quds University, who has been closely involved in the twinning project with Sussex; and Ghada, a member of the Patients and Friends Society in Jenin. Entrance is free and there will be time for questions and answers. (Pevensey 2, Rm 5A17, 4-5:30pm).

Meetings this week:

Weds 3pm - Boycott and Divestment group meeting. Meet Falmer common room, or library square if the weather is nice.

Weds 4pm - General organisational meeting, meet Falmer common room.

A Statement from the Sussex Occupation - An Update on our Current Action

Sussex students occupied lecture hall Arts A2 from January 21st to January 28th to show their support for the sufferers in Gaza and to call upon the University to take positive action. In this week we gathered a lot of support within and outside of the University Community, and most importantly raised awareness about the diabolical actions of the Israeli Government; which unfortunately continue almost two months on. Though the Occupation of Arts A002 has ended, we wish to update you on our current actions in terms of following up our demands and showing continuing solidarity with the people of Palestine.

1. That the University of Sussex issue a statement condemning the recent and continuing atrocities perpetrated by Israel in the Gaza strip.

The University not only condemned the Israeli Government's breach of UN Human Rights Law; but also called for the Government to retreat to its 1967 borders and condoned the suspected use of war crimes including the murdering of innocent citizens.

2. That the University of Sussex cease to invest directly or indirectly in companies complicit in human rights abuses in the Gaza strip and internationally.

Some excellent research has been done and it is now broadening to ethical investment more generally (which everyone seems to agree is a natural progression). We are assessing the companies which the university invests in, and how best to pressure the university administration to form an ethical investment policy.

3. That no Israeli goods or goods produced by companies that have directly funded the State of Israel be sold on campus.

4. That the University of Sussex provide complete financial scholarships for three students from Al-Quds Open University in Tubas with which USSU is twined and three students from Gaza University which has been bombed by the Israeli military.

We are working co-operatively with the university to help Palestinian students as much as we can; several delegations have been going back and forth between universities on occupied Palestinian Land. Hard work is continuing though, and we are determined to honour our sister University.

5. That any surplus educational resources available to the University of Sussex are provided to Gaza University and that the shipping of these resources be fully paid for by the University of Sussex.

We are imminently in negotiations with the IT Sevices and the library as to how to secure and send off resources. We would like to thank everyone who donated clothes and art supplies to the Palestinian Convoy a few weeks ago, they are being sorted through in preparation for being sent.

6. That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the occupation.

There have been no repercussions for any of the 80 students involved - for this we are grateful, and we are continuing the hard work.

We always welcome new, enthusiastic members to help us achieve our demands so please feel free to come to one of our weekly organisational meetings at 4 o'clock Wednesdays in Falmer Common Room.

In continuing solidarity,
The Sussex Occupation

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Sussex Students Blockade Carmel Agrexco!

Press Release: Carmel Blockaded in Jayyous Solidarity Action

At around 6:30 this morning a group of students from Brighton locked themselves to Carmel Agrexco, the Israeli state owned export company, toprotest against their complicity in the illegal annexation of the WestBank and the repression of students in the Palestinian village of Jayyous.Carmel Agrexco grows and imports agricultural produce (including fruit,vegetables and flowers) from illegal settlements in the West Bank whichare then sold in supermarkets such as Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco andmany others. As such, companies such as Carmel Agrexco are responsible forthe systematic annexation of Palestinian land.In these settlements workers, including children, are known to work inslave-labour conditions, with low wages, inadequate access to food andwater, and no contract. Furthermore, the settlements have not only stolenland, but use up much needed agricultural resources such as water.This action has been done in response to a callout for boycott, divestmentand sanctions against Israel, after the events of 18th February andonwards in Jayyous. On this day, occupying Israeli Defence Force soldiersinvaded the town of Jayyous, where regular protests have been held againstthe building of the apartheid wall, which will annex 5,585 dunums (558.5hectares) of land from the town, much of which is to be used for theexpansion of the illegal settlement, Zufim.75 soldiers and 25 army jeeps invaded the town in the early hours of themorning, conducting house to house raids: throwing sound-bombs at housesbefore forcing families out at gunpoint and ransacking their houses. Atleast 75 people were arrested, the vast majority students, including theentire student Stop the Wall Committee. Those arrested were taken to aschool that the army had turned into a detention centre. Most of thepeople were blindfolded and handcuffed and all were forced to sit instress positions. They were not allowed to eat, drink or talk to eachother as they were taken in for interrogation one by one. They were heldfor as much as 19 hours and 15 young men were taken to Huwarra militarybase on unknown charges. Bulldozers were then brought in which createdblockades at the entrances to the town and the population were put undercurfew for 18 hours.Since then, the village has been invaded two further times, on the secondtime a half-day curfew was imposed on the town. Residents have also beenthreatened with home demolitions.James Robinson, one of the protestors, said “the situation in Jayyous isdemonstrative of the systematic human rights abuses perpetrated againstthe Palestinians for the expansion of the settlements which Carmel Agrexcosupports and profits from”.Press Contact: Katie Phillips 07774083705 studentboycott@hotmail.com

Monday, 2 March 2009

Week of Action! (and of Meetings).

This week is the week of action for the arrested Jayyous students. We are having stalls everyday from 12 in library square (if the weather holds) and under the cover of Falmer House if not. Feel free to come down and help.

The general organisational meeting will be back to the usual time of 4pm on Wednesday this week after last week's meetings were disrupted by the Free Education demo. We've got lots to catch up on and make sure that we keep the ball rolling so please come along... meet Falmer common room.

Just before that at 3pm will be the boycott and divestment working group meeting in Falmer Common Room (or outside in the concrete square if the weather is nice). Some excellent research has been done and it is now broadening to ethical investment more generally (which everyone seems to agree is a natural progression). Come down to find out what we are up to ... there's a few plans afoot, although progress is quite slow. We are assessing the companies which the university invests in and assessing how best to pressure the uni administration to form an ethical investment policy.

This Friday lunchtime there will be a talk with Tamar Katz, a 19 year old Israeli student who was jailed for 51 days last year for refusing to serve in the army. 12-2pm Arts A5. See http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/event.php?eid=54315469230 for details.

Huge solidarity to Manchester uni, who after nearly a month of creative and energetic occupation which saw them take several different rooms on their campus and despicable threats and intimidatory strategies from their VC are still going stronger than ever! They say:

We in Manchester have been in occupation for almost four weeks now, yet the University has so far refused to negotiate with us. The University still invests in the arms trade, leading to some students having to disrupt a DSTL stall (an agency of the MoD) at an official graduate recruitment fair.

The Vice Chancellor Alan Gilbert has threatened expulsion for students who are involved.

Our demands are in line with current Union policy having received an overwhelming majority at an Emergency General Meeting, attended by over 1,100 students.

They have called for a national demonstration of support at 2pm this Wednesday 4th March (see http://manunioccupation.wordpress.com/). This is a critical time for the occupation: please support them by sending an email to VC Allan Gilbert demanding that he negotiate with occupiers: president@manchester.ac.uk.

Indymedia are putting together a feature page and article on the occupations and have put a call-out for occupation-related writings that people have done. Post your article to the Indymedia newswire (make sure you tick the'University occupations for Gaza' action topic when you post it) and then send an alert to baylott@riseup.net so that it can be linked into the main article. See the current occupations news page here: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/actions/2009/occupations/.

Friday, 27 February 2009

Plymouth Victory!

After four days of occupation, Plymouth University Occupation has announced victory. Check out their statement on their blog at http://plymouthunioccupation.blogspot.com/

The following has been agreed to by the university:

- The University of Plymouth will set up a humanitarian scholarships scheme, for students that for reasons of war, natural disaster or other calamity, are unable to continue to study at their home university. This will be a yearly recurring scheme, and the first 6 scholarships will be offered specifically to students of University of Gaza for the next academic year.

- The University of Plymouth will work with the other 30+ occupied universities to send aid and surplus materials to Gaza as a collective.

- Delegates from the occupation along with members of the Students' Union will put forward their case for an ethical investment plan (something that the University of Plymouth currently does not have) in six weeks time. This will include ending links with BAE Systems and an on-campus boycott of Israeli goods.

- There will be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the occupation.

Congratulations to Plymouth! We wish you all the best in solidarity in the ongoing movement. We also continue our solidarity with the students still in occupation at Byam Shaw, UEL, and Manchester, the last of which is the longest running student occupation at 23 days! Follow their blogs by clicking on their links at the right, under "Solidarity."

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Call to Action: solidarity with arrested Jayyous students

Please circulate widely.

Week of action in solidarity with the arrested students of Jayyous
2nd- 9th March

On February 18th 2009 in the early hours of the morning, Occupation forces rampaged through the West Bank village of Jayyous conducting violent house to house raids and carrying out mass arrests totalling over 50 students and nearly the entire youth committee of Stop the Wall Campaign.

For months the youth movement in Jayyous had made it one of the most active villages in the West Bank , embodying a strained resistance against occupation and the wall which will carve through village land destroying hundreds of olive trees and cutting the village off from many of its primary water supplies.

The students of Jayyous have called for IMMEDIATE BOYCOTT AND DIVESTMENT action in response to the incursion.

The students of the University of Sussex stand in solidarity with those in Jayyous and appeal to the wider student body to join us next week in a week of action against Israel ’s attacks on the basic human rights of those students in Jayyouss who dared to express dissent.

It is crucial that we recognise the severity of this event and draw wider attention to it as an example of the crimes on humanity that Palestinians experience every day.

In solidarity,

Sussex .

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Cardiff University Occupied!

Today Cardiff university became the 28th UK university to occupy, and the first occupation in Wales!

A student from the occupation said:

"I am ashamed that Cardiff University is helping fund the horrific violence in Gaza the consequence of which is the obliteration of education infrastructure in another, poorer part of the world. I don’t want the money I pay for my education contributing to the destruction of someone else’s. Our thoughts from the occupation are with the people of Gaza, who have lost so much.”

Please send messages of support to cardiffstudentsagainstwar@gmail.com copying in VC FarnhamS@Cardiff.ac.uk.

Meetings this week and national news

There has been a bit of difficulty in scheduling the meeting dates this week as there are too many other events going on! So we have decided for this week only to have two meetings for whoever can make either one...

One TODAY (Tues), meet 6pm Falmer Common Room - we will be organising Thursday's events in library square among other things.

One on THURSDAY at 4pm, for one hour, meet FCH.


Occupation news:

18 NYU students have been suspended following the occupation which ended on Thursday. Please check www.takebacknyu.com to see how you can support them.

Congratulations to UWE who won their occupation a couple of days ago.

Solidarity to Plymouth and the University of the Arts, London became the latest universities to occupy yesterday.

St Andrews, UEL and Manchester continue to occupy, with Manchester now in their third week of occupations!

Check occupations.org.uk for news...

Saturday, 21 February 2009

NYU Occupation Ends With Expulsions and Violence, St. Andrews and Manchester Still Going

The NYU Occupation has ended under outrageous circumstances. Participating students were evicted from their residences, while a few who were occupying the building were offered negotiations, then were instead taken away by security guards and served with explusion papers. No negotiations took place.

To complain about the underhanded quelling of this peaceful protest:
Contact NYU Housing to complain about student evictions:
Phone: 212-998-4600
email: housing@nyu.edu

Here is a short YouTube video covering the NYU Occupation, and here is a video where rallying students clashed with the police.

The Occupation has also put up a beautifully written statement on their website, which ends with the one word that perfectly encapsulates the sentiment of Take Back NYU!, as well as all the student occupations happening around the world: "Onward." Glad to hear it, and solidarity to everyone involved!


The St. Andrews Occupation is going strong, having had what sounds like a friendly meeting with the Principal. Unfortunately, more negotiating will have to happen next week before a resolution will be reached, but at least the management seems keen to have a proper negotiation with the students of the occupation, which is more than can be said about too many of the other university managers.

Keep up to date with the St. Andrews Occupation at their blog.


At 18 days, the Manchester Occupation is the longest-running of these student occupations so far. The management continues to ignore the demands of the occupying students, but as it can be read on their blog, the students are nowhere near giving up. They have called out for a demo to support the student occupation, to demand that the Chancellor listens to them, and to support the people of Gaza:

“Now 2 weeks on, University of Manchester students have occupied key buildings in the heart of the campus. The occupation has seen an unprecedented amount of support from students and academics alike most notably in an emergency general meeting in which over a thousand students attended to overwhelmingly support a motion to stand in solidarity with the people of Gaza. Entering their 18th day, the occupation is still strong in both numbers and spirit. The next focus is to pressure the university administration to accede to our reasonable demands but the arrogant and uncomprimising Vice Chancellor (send complaints to president@manchester.ac.uk) has failed to make any concessions for the student body claiming that the university cannot take a political position. But given the universities unethical investments in the arms trade, such an action is a political position. Notorious for his history at Melbourne University, he refused to engage in an open and just dialogue with the students of the occupation even threatening to take away the right to protest!

Solidarity to the Manchester Occupation! Their spirit and dedication is an inspiration to all of us here at Sussex.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Urgent meeting today and NYU occupation update

There is an urgent meeting today at 5pm in Falmer Common room to brainstorm how we can support the students of Jayyous, Palestine who were arrested on Wednesday when Israeli troops stormed their village. See www.stopthewall.org for details.

NYU management have begun negotiating with the occupation. Hundreds of supporters are outside on the streets, singing, dancing and resisting police, with 30-40 having stormed the 3rd floor of the occupied Kimmel building to join protestors inside. They say:

"This is for the students who work three jobs to attend the school of their dreams. This is for the students in Gaza, whose university is destroyed and can no longer study. This is for workers in Abu Dhabi building our facilities with no human rights to speak of. We are a global university and our actions are connected to world events, whether we like it or not. It is our responsibility. We have voices. Let’s use them."

Thursday, 19 February 2009

NYU and UWE occupations! And a couple of other things...

We were all super excited to hear today that New York University has become the second university stateside (after Rochester got all their demands met within a day) to go into occupation with students barricading themselves inside a dining hall. The occupation was initiated by the Take Back NYU! coalition and along with demands for 13 scholarships for Palestinian students and the donation of surplus resources, incorporates broader demands designed to increase democracy, accountability and
student participation in the governance of the university. They

"We apologize for inconveniencing the loyal lunchgoers of the Kimmel Marketplace, but we are not sorry for causing a disruption! Established channels have been insufficient to make our voices heard by the administration, and we have waited too long to be taken seriously. By disrupting the University’s functioning now, we are forcing the administration to deal with those people it depends upon the most—we, the students!"

We really hope that this will be the inspiration and the precedent for a new wave of similar student actions across the atlantic, and wish them serious success.

It seems that the initiative to take action via occupations is also spreading to other demands and issues, as Byam Shaw People's University in central London went into occupation yesterday over recent structural changes and managerial decisions that have seen the institution stripped of its independence, courses scrapped and staff made redundant. A couple of weeks ago workers at Waterford Crystal took over the running of their factory as the management tried to covertly close the plant down on a weekend. We welcome this resurgence in student and worker self-organised action, and with the NUS along with other national unions and the government still ignoring the needs and demands of those they claim to represent to pursue their own agendas we're expecting more to come...

Also back on these shores the University of Western England has become the latest to go into occupation in solidarity with Gaza showing that just because the atrocities are no longer making the evening headlines doesn't mean that we're not watching! They say:

This is following the recent atrocities that have and continue to take place in the Gaza Strip & occupation of the West Bank. We as students ourselves wish to offer our unity and support to our fellow students in the region during these hard times. We have proposed a set of demands of the University including scholarships for Palestinian students, a boycotting of Israeli goods, support for fundraising for DEC, and a condemnation of Israeli Actions in the region.

Good luck and solidarity guys.

Responses are slowly starting to drift in from all the letter writing done during the occupation. Today we received back a letter and what can only be described as a reading pack from our local MP David Lepper. He says he is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, however, he says he cannot sign the Early Day Motion in parliament which expresses support for the student occupations because he does not know what the 'aims of the recent occupation at Sussex were'. We would have thought that perhaps as an MP he would be aware of the national wave of occupations and of other such popular actions in his constituency, but we will nonetheless be writing back to inform him! A response was also received last week from the BBC who perplexingly cited not "compromising public confidence in the BBC's impartiality" in covering stories "where issues of responsibility for civilian suffering and distress are intrinsic to the story and remain highly contentious" and "a fragile ceasefire and sporadic border access" as justification for their refusal to broadcast the DEC humanitarian aid appeal. We were assured that "In the meantime your complaint has been registered on our audience log."

The minutes from yesterday's meeting can be found in the occupation gmail account. Tomorrow there will be a meeting of the Boycott and Divestment working group at 12pm (meet Falmer Common Room) - they have had lots of success in their research and will be planning the next steps. Next week's organisational meeting will take place on Tuesday at 6:00pm so as not to clash with the Free Education demo in London. Please come down and get involved! Meet in Falmer Common Room.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Two new occupations today! And one meeting...

We are still paying attention and we are still angry! Today saw two new occupations at St. Andrews University and the University of East London.

At St. Andrews, 50 people occupied the Lower College Hall in protest at the University's complicity in the Israeli occupation after having presented the principal with a petition signed by over 30 academics and 700 students. They say:

"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."

Please send messages of support to: campaign@scottishpsc.org.uk

Our congratulations and solidarity to both.

Another productive general meeting today with feedback from the various working groups on progress with our demands among other things and lots of plans and ideas for more events and initiatives including some exciting things going on in library square and a new website in the offing. We've tried to ignore our deadlines and obligations, but they still won't go away: we still very much need people to volunteer for tasks and get involved. The Events and Education and Scholarships and Supplies working groups could both do with some extra help at the moment. Please email the relevant working group contacts (previous post) to find out about things that you can do or scheduled meetings.

Coming up next week are a couple of events:

On Monday 23rd 5:00pm in Mandela Hall there will be a Stop the War event with speeches from Lindsey German, convenor of Stop the War Coalition, and Rose Gentle, Military Families Against War.

Then on Tuesday 24th at 5:00pm, SWSS are hosting a talk with John Rose, author of 'The Myth of Zionism' in Engineering 2, AS03

We will be rescheduling next week's organisational meeting as lots of us will be off to London to overthrow NUS president Wes Streeting who, after last week's sensational attempt at claiming that the occupations were actually the inspiration of the NUS, this week treacherously attacked the occupations with inexplicable accusations of causing intimidation and inciting racism, saying "I do not believe that the sit-ins relating to the Gaza crisis have been the student movement's finest hour". Lucky you don't speak for the student movement then Wes. Oh no wait a moment...

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Occupation Victories, Divine Divestment, Disciplinaries, Debates and Free Popcorn!


Amazing news from the Goldsmiths Occupation, who won all of their demands in 29 hours! Congratulations to the members of the occupation, as well as the university management for their swift and total cooperation in developing and fully funding 4 new scholarships (2 for Palestinian students, and 2 for students from other conflict areas). 20 scholarships are guaranteed, starting from 2009-10 to 2019-20, after which a review board involving the entire student body will vote on further funding for these scholarships. More details, as well as the official response and agreement from Goldsmiths university management can be found on their blog.

The university management at UEA has been less cordial in their response to the members of the occupation on that campus, which included a vague threat to forcefully remove students from the Arts building if the occupation didn't cease. However, the management has agreed to negotiate with the members of the occupation outside of the occupied building, so for now the UEA Occupation has ended. We wish them the best in their negotiations and solidarity in their efforts.

Edinburgh also ended their occupation this morning with some solid victories including five scholarships and a lecture series, and a vow that "This is only the beginning of the movement to end the university’s role in the occupation and oppression of Palestine by the Israeli government and military." They say: "We feel it’s important to emphasize that the student occupation should be understood not simply as a tactic or a bargaining chip in getting our demands... At it’s best, the occupation provided a space for a process far more democratic than what conventional university structures are able to achieve. The changes we want to see will be attained through our direct action but also by creating such spaces, and expanding them indefinitely."

We hope that these victories will be motivation for more students to occupy!

Manchester university continues to occupy, using creative methods to continue to gain strength and support despite pressure from their VC. They have posted a radio interview with members of the occupation on their blog.


The past few weeks have seen lots of interesting new abuses of the English language, what with the BBC desperately cleaving to a meaningless notion of 'impartiality', 'anti-semitism' and even 'Zionist' gaining the popularity of playground insults, educational establishments with arms investments claiming to be 'apolitical', and various other complex concepts being reduced to vacant media cliches... but it seems that the British constabulary are still hung up on good old 'terrorism' as, within hours of the Viva Palestina convoy setting off from London to provide vital aid and humanitarian supplies to Gaza, it was apprehended by the North West Counter Terrorism Unit. Nine people were arrested, vehicles seized and several houses raided. According to that old bastion of British impartiality, the Telegraph, 'one van bears an image of the Palestinian flag on its side while the other has signs saying Stop Killing Children, Free Palestine, and From Blackburn (UK) to Gaza... A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said the men were arrested "on suspicion of committing offences under the Terrorism Act 2006."' We wonder if it was the urgently needed medicines, or the warm clothing. or the art supplies for students that made them suspicious? Nice one guys; thanks for keeping us all safe there.

The disciplinary hearing for victimised Sheffield Hallam union officer, Matt Vickery has been scheduled for Thurs 19th Feb. Please continue to email Russ Swannack, the union president, to express your sentiments: r.swannack@shu.ac.uk, uuspresident@shu.ac.uk.

Divestment: even the Church of England is getting in on the act, having just withdrawn shares from heavy-equipment manufacturer Caterpillar, whose bulldozers have been used to raze the homes of thousands of Palestinians. According to an article on Indymedia, the Church had "about £2.5m invested in a company that manufactures one of Israel's weapons of mass misery and destruction." Apparently even the Church is now starting to recognise the blatant immorality of profiting from senseless death and destruction: we hope that with God's ministers guiding the way and divestment from the Israeli war machine now divinely sanctioned, other less trailbreaking British institutions will soon see the light and follow suit.


Come and indulge in some Arts A2 nostalgia with us this Tuesday:
At 6:00 there will be an exciting debate between the URNU and Students Against the Arms Trade on whether military-funded bodies should be allowed on campus.
Then at 8:00 is the Free Film Soc screening of the extraordinary animated documentary, 'Waltz with Bashir'. Film starts 7:00pm, followed by discussion, with a free popcorn policy.

On Friday several members of other occupations came down to Sussex for an informal chat about the next steps for the national movement and share experiences and ideas. Discussion was productive and we all left feeling very enthusiastic. Feedback will follow to the national list shortly.

The next weekly organisational meeting will take place on Wednesday 18th Feb at 4:00pm. Meet in Falmer Common Room.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Goldsmiths, Edinburgh, UEA occupied! Shame on Sheffield Hallam SU!

Nearly a month after some SOAS students took the MOD building on their campus in solidarity with Gaza, the (inter)national wave of occupations is still growing, with those who have ended occupations showing no sign of lessening their resolve to ensure that demands are implemented and practical solidarity with Palestine is achieved, and news of new and planned occupations still coming in constantly.

Today saw new occupations initiated at Goldsmiths (right), Edinburgh, and the University of East Anglia. Among UEA's demands are twinning with the bombed University of Gaza, and a condemnation from its union of the "failure of the NUS to address the massacre in Gaza in a meaningful way", whilst Edinburgh has demanded "that the university suspend all relations with companies enabling the conflict and/or occupation" and "that the university provide logistical and financial support for a series of informative lectures on the Palestine/Israel question."

In other shocking news, Matt Vicary, equal opportunities officer at Sheffield Hallam, has been suspended by the president of his own student union for a display of solidarity with Gaza at the recent NUS conference in the face of the imminent passing of the structurally debilitating governance review (which effectively takes away the student voice at a national level). Several other students have been threatened with suspension for their part in the university occupations. Such victimisation of those students who are prepared to stand up for their own basic rights and those of others globally is wholly disgraceful and a danger to the movement and to the basic concept of our freedom to protest. Join the facebook group in support of Matt, or ring Hallam Union on 0114 225 4111 to complain.

Lastly, Maria Gallestegui ended her hunger strike yesterday on doctors' warnings after 30 days without food calling for the lifting of the blockade on Gaza. We wish her a quick recovery and condemn the UK government and media for their failure to acknowledge this heroic act of solidarity and the urgency of those issues underlying it.

A message of solidarity from the Islamic University of Gaza

Dear fellow students of Sussex 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 Sussex university students in Occupation

Dr Kamalain Sha'ath
President, The Islamic University of Gaza

Monday, 9 February 2009

Glasgow occupied!

Breaking news! Glasgow students have entered into occupation...

"We are currently occupying the top floor of the Computer Science building in solidarity with the Gazan people, and in protest to the war crimes committed by the state of Israel against the Palestinian people, the University's complicity in this via links to the arms trade, and the BBC's refusal to show the DEC appeal."

Excellent work! We send our solidarity. Watch this space...

Our comment in the student newspaper last week

For original article see here.

Occupation protesters claim success

February 2, 2009 by The students of the occupation

Photo: facebook.com (Saï Mountand Glaad)

Photo: facebook.com (Saï Mountand Glaad)

On Tuesday 27th, after a long, tiring week of sleeping on the floor of Arts A2, the occupation in response to the recent events in Gaza finally accomplished its aims of recognition and support from the University of Sussex for the people of Palestine.

Our demands were similar to those won by other academic institutions within the UK in previous weeks and designed to take advantage of the power and resources that we possess as students of a British academic institution to achieve real and immediate benefits for the oppressed Palestinian people. Among the resolutions accomplished was the creation of a scholarship fund to bring Palestinian students, many of whose universities have been bombed to oblivion with the aid of the UK government, over to Sussex to study. Another was for the university to divest its funds from arms companies that support the Israeli war machine, and thus to stop profiting from death in our names. Another achievement was the establishment of a scheme to pass on surplus computers, books and other educational equipment to Palestinian universities. These measures will make a real and concrete difference to some of the victims of the Israeli occupation.

Comments have been made about our methods. Some have asked us if it was really necessary to go to such extremes of an occupation: why not just lobby the management, for example? We answer that such methods simply have not worked. For five decades Palestinians have suffered whilst their geographical and cultural identity has been systematically eroded. And for three weeks the Israeli military has engaged in the massacre of 1300 Palestinian people, whilst the world sighed and expressed regret. It was always our intention to exert the maximum pressure with the minimum disruption. Lectures were allowed to continue as normal, with a two-minute explanation of our presence and cause at the beginning of each lecture, and only with the permission of the lecturer.

We organised by the most democratic means possible. Individuals organised themselves voluntarily into working groups, the composition of which was always fluid and open. No one group or faction exerted their will over others and the general atmosphere was always one of hard work and cooperation. Consistent efforts were made to engage the wider student population through flyering, dialogue, an info-stall outside Arts A2, daily open-access general meetings, and several organised discussions and educational events. Structures were agreed to allow everyone’s voice to be heard, including the introduction of a safer spaces policy, a dedicated welfare team, and a decision-making structure that valued the dialogue and consensus of everyone involved. We thank everyone who came and made a contribution and all those who expressed their support by signing the petition and by other means.

We came together from a varied spectrum of cultural and political backgrounds and represented many diverse perspectives. Many came with ideas based on ideological beliefs and theoretical understandings of the conflict, but many came with simply a horror of what they had seen (and what they had not seen) on the news. What brought us together was a determination to do what was in our power to help. We know that it’s a drop in the ocean. We know that it is not going to end the conflict. But it is what we can do. And when you can do something, anything, it is a crime to do nothing.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

General update Sunday

First of all, an urgent call-out for art materials for the Viva Palestina convoy that will be leaving from London on Sat 14th February. This is a request from art students in Gaza, whose university was bombed. They are looking for paint, paintbrushes, canvases, sketch pads: in fact anything that an art student could use. If you can help with this request, please contact Harriett, from the Surplus Resources and Scholarships working group asap.

The national wave has gone international! We received news yesterday that the University of Rochester in New York had gone into occupation, and within nine hours they had claimed a complete victory! Their demands, which the Dean of Student affairs signed without amendments, were divestment from arms companies and other war profiteers, a day of fundraising for humanitarian aid for Gaza, twinning with the devastated University of Gaza and the sending of surplus academic resources, and five annual scholarships for Palestinian students. No students faced repercussions for their actions. Congratulations to Rochester for their swift success, and to other unis internationally: get on it guys!

In an amazing and appallingly unpublicised act of individual solidarity, Maria Gallestegui has entered the 4th week of a hunger strike in Parliament Square in London. She has been delivering a petition to Downing Street every day, having pledged not to end it until the blockade on Gaza is lifted. We hope that, with the blood of over 1300 Palestinians on their hands already, the British government will listen to the public voice before another life is lost to the Israeli occupation. Peace, solidarity and awe to Maria. 

On Saturday, a few members of the occupation went down to the demo at warehouse of Carmel-Agrexco, the main UK importer of produce from the occupied territories. After a few organisational hiccups, protestors arrived to find that the Met police had already set up their own blockade with 150 policemen blocking off the entrance having been camped out all night, so they waited around being photographed by the Forward "Intelligence" Team before the banners and the media arrived, and then had a bit of a chant and a rally. 

Last week saw a variety of different educational public events around campus including a moving performance of the Palestine Monologues, a panel including the Palestinian ambassador, and a screening of Occupation 101. All events were well-attended, showing the continued interest and energy  across campus around the issues motivating the occupations around the country.

We are also working hard to continue extending our links nationally with representatives attending the Stop the War conference on Saturday and a delegate visiting the Manchester occupation (which is still going and urgently need support: email VC Alan Gilbert at president@manchester.ac.uk) this weekend. We will also be hosting a national forum next Friday for representatives from the different occupations to meet and discuss our next steps as a national movement. 

And also on the subject of the national movement, check out the article in today's Independent, particularly notable for the following shock statement which almost sounds like an endorsement from NUS president Wes Streeting: "It's about time we got [sic] the student movement going again and had an impact.Glad to have you on board at last Wes! We look forward to seeing the national student union joining in with the national student movement! Check out as well the coverage of the occupation in the Badger last week. We made the front page! 

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Manchester Uni Occupied, Strathclyde and Queen Mary Victories, and Sussex Updates

Over 150 University of Manchester students have occupied the main university administration building in a demand for a stronger and more proactive position from the university on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, as reported on Indymedia. This is wonderful news and we wish them all the best in solidarity!

Please follow their blog at: http://manunioccupation.wordpress.com/


Congratulations to the Strathclyde University Occupation, whose overnight occupation of the registry hall in McCance Building ended today in victory. They have issued the following statement:

"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"

There was a report that the police had been dispatched to remove the students last night, but a member of the occupation has sent out the following clarification:

"To clarify, the police were called (we believe by a member of the Estates Management security staff), only to be turned away immediately by the Secretary to the University. We are assured that the uni authorities will not engage in ‘provocations’, to use their words."

Victory also came yesterday to the Queen Mary occupation who, after eight days in occupation, were succesful in negotiating most of their demands, including the donation of surplus resources, and divestment from Cobham and a co-operative review of the university's ethical investment policy. They say

"Though the Occupation has ceased, the cause has not. We will still fight for freedom for Palestine."

Congratulations and solidarity to all involved

Keep up to date with national occupation news at http://occupations.org.uk/


Here at Sussex, we are still going strong, with well-attended meetings on how to continue the movement. We had an amazing panel on Tuesday, featuring the Palestinian Ambassador, and we hope to have a video from that up soon. There are also other events being suggested and some currently being put together, so we are nowhere near being out of ideas and nowhere near allowing the atrocities in Gaza to become ignored again.

As a reminder to those on-campus and in the Brighton area, we still have two more events for Palestine Week:

TONIGHT: The Palestine Monologues - 7pm in Arts A 103 at the University of Sussex. An informative but emotionally charged live drama performance, The Palestine Monologues explores the day to day experiences of life under Israeli occupation and also highlights some of the turning points individuals have had when they have seen past the dominant and conflicting narratives perpetuating the conflict. Entry by donation.

FRIDAY: Film Screening of Occupation 101 - 4pm in EDB 121 (between Arts B and C). 'Occupation 101' presents a comprehensive analysis of the facts and hidden truths surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and dispels many of its long-perceived myths and misconceptions. The film also details life under Israeli military rule, the role of the United States in the conflict, and the major obstacles that stand in the way of a lasting and viable peace. The event is free and will be followed by discussion and refreshments.

Click to view the trailer for Occupation 101 on YouTube


The final point is to draw attention to some new links in the "Media" section on the right hand side of the blog: the Emancipating Education for All website, which follows worldwide events and actions to make education available for everyone. Also, there are two articles from The Socialist Worker on the UK university occupations, featuring quotations from Sussex students!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Record of negotiations

On Wednesday 21st January we issued a press statement outlining our demands. The next day we received a two-page sympathetic but very vague and non-committal response from the vice-chancellor's office. We responded the next morning (Friday) with a short, courteous, and equally vague letter. The university did not feel that they needed to respond to this, so we spent the weekend doing some more research, and on Sunday 25th sent a second response to the V-C's office, with some concrete proposals based on what they had said they were willing/able to do. On Monday 26th we received a draft agreement from the V-C's office agreeing to most of our demands and with a revised proposed statement. We felt that the concessions made in this response were excellent and many felt it to be a victory. However, although the document had been received along with strong verbal assurances from the university management that the proposals would be carried out in the spirit of the occupation's principles, some felt the wording to be too vague. At the general meeting that evening we considered the document in depth and made a few minor clarifications in order to ensure that this would be the case. On Tuesday morning, the university rejected our proposals and issued us with an ultimatum to vacate the lecture theatre by 9am otherwise negotiations would end. We were surprised by the severity of this response as the university had acknowledged our amendments to be minor. We did not vacate, and held an emergency meeting at 11am with 50 people in attendence. We sent a brief letter informing the university that a decision would be made at the general meeting that evening. Discussions continued throughout the day. At the general meeting that evening we discussed the response in depth and decided unanimously to accept the agreement without our final clarifications along with the verbal assurances of the V-C. The occupation was ended at 9:30pm on Tuesday 27th and a press release issued.

Campaigning workshops today!

There is still space on the these two workshops taking place this afternoon. They are both being run by Seeds For Change; a non-profit co-op providing training and resources to activists.

The following sessions will run concurrently from 2-5pm, Falmer House

Introduction to Campaign Planning - An effective campaign plan is vital if you want campaign success. A campaign plan is like a map that helps you get from where you are now to where you want to be - the goal of your campaign. In this workshop we'll practice using a series of campaign planning tools that will help you create a winning campaign.

Creative Campaigning
- What draws a crowd and makes them stop? How can you communicate your campaign message? How can you get media attention for your campaign? We'll explore these questions and more in this workshop.

Email societies@ussu.sussex.ac.uk to book a space. You can also find the Facebook Event page here.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Exhibition and Talks taking place today

Today's Exhibition and Talks will be running as planned. This follows news that campus is open today, trains from London to Brighton and Falmer are running every half-hour, and the Tube service is mostly operational. Please check travel details before you depart, and consider allowing extra time for your journey.

Facebook event:
Facebook PALESTINE: Exhibition and Talks

The Street Theatre event will also continue as planned - meet in Mandela Hall at 10am. This is a great opportunity to raise awareness about forthcoming events after what has been a long weekend. All students and staff are welcome to take part.

The planned group meeting will also take place as scheduled at 6pm, meet in Falmer Common Room.

If you have any concerns or questions regarding today's events, please contact Josh at joshua.c.j@gmail.com.

Monday, 2 February 2009

National occupations update

Congratulations to King's College London who yesterday announced victory after two weeks of occupation and protest:

"The college has agreed to a series of measures to directly address the current crisis in Gaza, including the provision of scholarships for those directly affected by the crisis, and the donation of educational resources to institutions in Palestine", said Mido Khan on behalf of the student protesters. "In addition, the college has acknowledged the scale of discontent that the award to Peres has generated among the student population, particularly considering the award in the context of what has happened recently in Gaza."

Less welcome news from the Nottingham university occupation who yesterday were forcibly removed by security guards without prior warning. The protest had been peaceful and had explicitly stated its intentions of non-disruption to other students from the outset (although the university took the decision to disrupt lectures). Following this illegal eviction, many students were kept outside in the snow without jackets and prevented from retrieving their possessions still left in the hall. The media were denied access to campus. The actions of the university in collaboration with the local police are disgraceful, unnecessary and dangerous. There have been reports of injuries to students, personal items being confiscated, intimidatory recording of names and ID numbers, police and security refusing to take statements from students assaulted during removal and failing to help the process of identifying those members of security responsible for assault and injury. Please call and email the university to register your outrage at this disgusting behaviour.

Dark news also from Sheffield Hallam who have now been told that, following their eviction on 29th January after serious intimidation and threats of arrest, those involved are to be suspended from the university, which means that they will be unable to take part in exams and lectures. This is in breach of earlier assurances from university officials that there would be no repercussions for protestors if they agreed to leave the occupation peacefully (which they did). University security was subsequently sent to break up the arranged post-occupation organisational meeting. That students should suffer severe intimidation and academic penalty, effectively jeopardising their futures, for peaceful political protest of this sort is unacceptable and an extremely worrying precedent. Please complain to Sheffield Hallam University by ringing them on 0114 225 5555 or email Philip Jones the Vice-Chancellor at enquiries@shu.ac.uk.

Finally Queen Mary are still going strong and have achieved their first success, with the university agreeing to add the 'Palestinian Territories' to the Scholarship list. The occupation continues to press for all expenses paid scholarships for students specifically from the Gazan University for the coming Academic year 2009 - 2010 and 10 extra general scholarships to be created for future years so as not to disadvantage students from other parts of the world.

We urge all other universities who are still considering occupation to get on it now!

Street Theatre Postponed!

Due to an excess of weather, today’s Street Theatre event will take place later in the week.

If the buses and trains are running tomorrow, we’ll do it then - same time, 10am Falmer Common Room. It will be followed by a sledging session.

Have fun today!

Saturday, 31 January 2009

Some final messages of support...

"Congratulations to everyone involved in the occupation for the pathbreaking way in which you have conceived, organised, sustained, publicised and achieved such positive results from this campaign. I am proud to be part of a University that has such students." - Andrew Chitty, Department of Philosophy

"Good to see a positive end to it - great going, guys, let's hope this does give rise to a new movement of student activism! It's certainly an exciting time to be working at Sussex."

- Jon Mason

"Congratulations on having made an important statement and obliged an institution to face a cultural prejudice. Would that our media were free enough to report your and other student-body actions and achievements to those who have little or no clarity about the long suffering of Palestinian peoples." - Louis Loizou

"Respect is due for all your hard work. Please do not let the struggle die. We must turn Sussex into a non-militarist campus by protesting the international security agenda. This movement has proved that only united and organised students have the chance of making this a reality!" - Alana Lentin, Sociology Department

"I just wanted to say that I'm really happy to see that there is a new breed of fine activists at Sussex doing interesting, creative, engaging and innovative campaigns and events to support the Palestinian people.

I was Comms a while back and a staunch Palestine supporter during my whole time at Sussex. It really is great to see what you guys have been up to and in using blogs, facebook and gmail to communicate your activities I feel like I've been with you.

A huge congratulations for all that you have done and, I'm sure, will continue to do."

- Alexandra Molano

"You speak for the millions of young people throughout the world who are sick and tired of war and injustice, who simply desire a world in which the young grow up not knowing what it is like to kill and maim.You are an inspiration to us all and we wish you every success and call upon all those who want a more peaceful world to support your action." UCU NEC members (p/c)

Friday, 30 January 2009

Nottingham under siege

Nottingham have just had all of their power cut off except the lights and been asked to leave on pain of disciplinary action by the Director of Student Operations and Support. The students have been warned that ‘no dialogue will take place whilst this room is occupied’. Please send statements of support to occupationnottingham@googlemail.com and complaints to vice-chancellor David Greenaway and director of student operations and support Stephen Dudderidge.