Scotland: Campus occupations for Gaza

February 21, 2009

On February 9, 40 students from Glasgow University occupied its computer science research building. This was just one in a series of university occupations by students across Britain — involving as many as 24 campuses at one point — in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Student demands have included an academic boycott of Israel and offering scholarships to students from the besieged Palestinian territory.

In some cases, important demands have been won, such as an agreement by the university authorities to send books, academics and other aid to Gaza and for statements to be issued condemning Israel's war.

The Glasgow University computer science department was targeted as it receives funding from the British Aerospace Engineering (BAE) arms manufacturing company. The central demand of the Glasgow students was for all ties with BAE to be ceased.

Other demands were for scholarships for Palestinian students, the cancelling of a contract with Eden Springs water company (which uses water from the Golan Heights, Syrian territory occupied by Israel) and for the university to screen the emergency humanitarian appeal ad for Gaza that the BBC refused to broadcast.

Ewan Gibbs, a Glasgow University student who took part in the occupation, told Green Left Weekly: "This occupation is the second we have had in Glasgow in a week and both have received a broad range of support.

"We are protesting primarily against the Israeli assault on the people of Gaza. We are also protesting against our university having links with companies that are complicit with this assault."

On February 11, 50 students protested in solidarity outside the occupied building. That day, concessions were granted by the administration that ended the occupation.

The concessions were for all funding received and all investments made by the university to be publicised, in accordance with the Freedom of Information act Scotland (2002), for the university to work towards a Glasgow–Palestine student scholarship scheme, for the BBC-rejected humanitarian appeal to be encouraged to be screened during lectures and for there to be an official day of fund collection for Gaza.

[To find out more about the occupations, visit .]

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