Stop the Press: Students at Strathclyde win concessions from university administration!
On Wednesday the fourth of February students occupied the McCance building of the university of Strathclyde in Glasgow to protest the Israeli aggression in Gaza and the colleges involvement with Israeli companies. The students demanded that the university disinvest in BAE defence systems, cancel its contract with Eden Springs (an Israeli drinking water company), fund scholarships for 50 Palestinian students to study at Strathclyde, to twin itself with the university of Gaza, to condemn the BBC’s refusal to not show the DEC appeal and to oppose Israeli academics who promote arms research at the university.
After three negotiation sessions with the university authorities and a students association that opposed the actions the students managed to win a series of promises from the university administration.
The university first agreed to not renew its contract with Eden Springs drinking water and to reduce its order to zero for te duration of the current contract.
Secondly they agreed to fund between one and three scholarships for Palestinian students whose own centre of study had been destroyed by the Israeli defence Force. These are to be funded by the money the university had set aside to fund asylum seekers as it is no longer needed thanks to the Scottish government agreeing to fund asylum seekers via SAAS.
Thirdly they will issue a statement to reiterate the university’s relationship with the university of Gaza.
Fourthly they shall promote the DEC appeal on campus and participate in fundraising activities on campus.
And lastly there shall be no action taken against students who participated in the occupation.
The university denies that it has any links with BAE systems beyond the company funding one student to the sum of £5000 in the engineering department. Whether this is true or not remains to be seen.
Whilst these are small victories they can, and hopefully will, be built upon in order to put further pressure on other institutions to withdraw support for companies that profit from the occupation and military aggression in Gaza. Hopefully the events of today will further encourage students who are in occupation around the country that they can succeed.
Most importantly however it shows the people of Gaza that people all over the world are leveraging whatever influence they can to show solidarity with them at this time.