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

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 copying in VC

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 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 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

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 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 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:

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:,

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: (Saï Mountand Glaad)

Photo: (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 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:


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


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 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

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

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!