"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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!