Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Press Release: Sussex Students for A Free Palestine.

Over 80 University of Sussex Students have occupied a major lecture theatre in solidarity with Palestine under siege.

Motivated by the escalating crisis in Gaza, University of Sussex students have issued a set of demands to the University management calling for immediate action. The occupation is a response to recent Israeli military assault on Gaza. We stand in solidarity with the School of Oriental and African Studies, the London School of Economics, King's College London, Birmingham and Essex Universities. The occupied space will be used for education and dialogue until the following demands are met:

We demand:

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

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. We would like to draw attention to the motion passed on this subject in the USSU AGM this academic year.

3. That no Israeli goods or goods produced by companies that have directly funded the State of Israel be sold on campus. The University of Sussex should remove these goods from all private retail and dining facilities as the Union is endeavoring to accomplish.

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.

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.

6. That there be no legal, financial, or academic measures taken against anyone involved in or supporting the occupation. This extends to the Student Union. Students involved will be guaranteed free movement in and out of the occupied space.

This is a non violent and inclusive protest decisions are made on the base of consensus decision making. All University of Sussex students are encouraged to participate in this process. During the occupation we will adhere to the same codes of personal conduct as is expected of us as members of the student community.
Any disruption to our peers' education is expressly against our wishes and we will respect the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of expression and the right to disagree.


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  2. If you demand from the university that they condemn any attacks on civilians then surely this must extend to any Hamas rocket attacks which have been ongoing for months as you can not put the life of a Palestinian citizen over that of an Israeli.

    Please also respect the fact that you do not represent all of the university so a statement or boycott should reflect all students views and not just those occupying the lecture hall.

    In addition I do not understand why you never demanded any scholarships for Zimbabweans, Sudanese or Somalis who have even less access to any kind of education yet seem forgotten.

    Any boycott of Israeli goods should be matched by a boycott of British products as they have twice now occupied foreign land. I am mentioning this as I have been informed by so many of you that British foreign policy does not neccesarily reflect the view of its voters and therefore why does the Israeli or any nation's peoples need to be punished for their governments? You will need to be fair in your demands as otherwise you will not get the support you are looking for from the moderate students of which there are many.

  3. Dear comrades,

    I am writing to send a message of solidarity on behalf of the Branch Committee of the Lambeth Branch of UNISON.

    We salute your courage in campaigning tirelessly for the Palestinian right to education. The tide is turning against the legitimacy of the Israeli Apartheid state and the student movement is crucial to that. We support you in your occupation to bring about firm commitments to Palestinian students from your university.

    You may also be heartened to know that yesterday our Branch Committee voted to support calls for academic, cultural and economic boycotts of Israel.

    In solidarity,

    James Caspell
    Lambeth UNISON Young Members' Officer

  4. Having arrived at the occupation hoping for a open and free flowing debate on the Gaza conflict, I was utterly dismayed.

    The forum simply encompassed a narrow minded and constrained discussion between students who appeared to have no understanding of how the political process works - AND WHO SEEMED MORE 'OCCUPIED' WITH WINNING A STAND OFF WITH THE UNIVERSITY MANAGEMENT THAN PROVIDING ANY REAL AID TO THE CIVILIAN CASUALTIES OF THIS WAR.

    A discussion over whether or not to accept a cheque from a Homeless charity summarised the clouded morality of the occupation - and the failure to recognise their privileged position as students at this university.

    I pray that every person caught up in this conflict can find hope and faith in making it through this war, because the self indulgence and futility of the stated demands will, in reality, offer little solace.

    So occupants... Put an end to this aimless, anti semitic show of ignorance of the real issues - and give the hard working students their right to uninterrupted education back.

  5. How can you demand anything from this university which is not the least bit related to university issues?! This is a secondary education institution and not a playground for minorities that impose their undemocratic "demands" on everyone who studies, lives and works on campus just to satisfy their infantile pseudo-revolutionary longings and self-enhancing egos? How many students actually support your occupation, your demands, your goals? It's a shame how easily a bunch of self-righteous activists can mess with this country's democratic culture that people around the globe admire and seek...