In the first week of term, over 80 Oxford University students have occupied the historic Bodleian building to demand that the university releases a statement condemning the attack on Gaza and cancel the lecture series at Balliol College inaugurated by Shimon Peres. The protest was also joined in by ten more British universities namely SOAS, LSE, Essex, King’s, Birmingham, Sussex, Warwick, Oxford, Newcastle, Manchester MET
In an official statement the students said “Palestinians have the same rights as we do, including the right to education as enshrined in the United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights. We are proud to be students at Oxford University and do not want the University to contribute in any way to the undermining of the right to education. It is not a matter of politics, it is a matter of humanity,”
Oxford University should release a statement in support of the right of Palestinians to education and its support to the Palestinian Academic community. The University should condemn in particular the attack on the Islamic University in Gaza.
Oxford University currently holds investments in BAE Systems, a firm that the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (caat.org.uk) states provides weapons and ammunition for the Israeli military. This means that our university is being directly funded by the Israeli war on Gaza. Oxford University must divest from BAE and other companies which supply arms to Israel.
- 5 fully paid scholarships for Palestinian students.
Particularly after the attack on Gaza and the ongoing hardships suffered by Palestinians, Oxford University should offer 5 fully-funded scholarships to Palestinian students as a way to contribute to greater access to education for those affected by the conflict.
- A cancellation lecture series inaugurated by Shimon Peres
The group demands that the Master of Balliol College cancel the lecture series that was inaugurated by the Israeli President Shimon Peres. It is not appropriate to have such a lecture series in light of the attack on Gaza and the ongoing siege.
- Resources for Education.
The Oxford University should donate resources to, and support, the University and educational infrastructure that have been bombed in Gaza.
- Right to Peaceful Protest
Oxford University has a proud history of student activism. Students united to campaign against apartheid, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All students have a democratic right to peaceful protest and students should not be prevented from expressing their opinions by fear of reprisals.
Barely an hour ago [6:30pm GMT] the seize was called off after the students successfully reached a settlement with the administration without any punitive measures against the protestors, it was announced on the Occupied Oxford blog as well as on twitter