Uni of Queensland forced to disclose, students vow to fight on to divest from the war machine

June 3, 2024
Students demand that UQ divests from Israeli weapons companies
Students demand that UQ divests from Israeli weapons companies, February 29. Photo: Sam Morris

The University of Queensland (UQ) committed on June 1 to disclosing financial and research partnerships with weapons manufactures in return for the UQ Gaza solidarity camp shutting down.

The agreement was signed between UQ, the UQ Union (UQU) and Muslim Students for Palestine. Students for Palestine (SfP) declined.

The agreement enforces several commitments, including that UQ publish a list of research grants from arms manufacturers by July 31.

UQ also committed to publish any financial ties to companies complicit in the illegal West Bank settlements.

However, these disclosures “will be subject to contractual and legislative requirements, including … national security regulations and laws”.

This leaves the possibility that many published disclosures will be redacted.

UQ management has also committed to double the number of refugee and humanitarian scholarships “with a focus on supporting students from Gaza given the impact on educational institutions in the region”.

In return, representatives from the encampment agreed to decamp by 5pm on June 1 and not to disrupt the upcoming exam period and graduation.

SfP also agreed to decamp, but made clear it did not endorse the deal.

It said UQ should not be working with arms manufacturers and it rejected signing any deal which restricted the right to protest.

However, given the success of the student general meeting (SGM) on May 29 and the semester is coming to an end, SfP said there was “no point in persisting with a physical camp on campus”.

It said it would resume the fight next semester, until management ends its complicity in genocide.

The UQ deal was sent to the student encampment on May 27, before the historic SGM, where 1500 students voted for the university to divest from Israel and shut down the Boeing Centre.

Therefore, the agreement is not aligned with the students’ outrage about UQ’s ties to Israel. It is unlikely that simply disclosing the ties to the war machine in Gaza will placate students who are determined to fight on to force UQ to divest.

[Sam Morris is a Socialist Alliance member and a Students for Palestine organiser at UQ.]

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