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60+ students occupy uni building in protest

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60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby Not spam, it's news! on Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:13 pm

Over 60 students from St. Andrews have occupied Lower College Hall after a petition demanding that the University cut ties with Israeli contractors and institute an aid and scholarship programme was handed to the Principal.

The St Andrews Solidarity with Palestine Campaign has been active in the town this week gathering signatures for a petition (found here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/topi ... topic=8116 ) which so far has some 700+ student and 30 staff signatories. The campaign is supported by St Andrews Amnesty International group, St Andrews Stop the War Coalition and St Andrews Left Society.

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In accordance with this over 60 students have as of 12:00 today issued demands to University officials and have promptly occupied Lower College Hall with the intent to stay indefinitely. Negotiations are now in progress. Their demands are as follows:


We stand in solidarity with the persecuted Palestinian people, and call upon our university to join the international community in condemning Israel's criminal actions in the occupied territories.

After recent horrific events in Gaza, students in universities across Britain have succeeded in getting their institutions to publicly condemn the invasion, which included the bombing of Gaza University.

In St Andrews, a number of societies are coming together to fundraise for disaster relief and circulate a petition to present to St Andrews governance, which demands the following--that it:

1) Immediately suspends and pledges not to renew its contract with Eden Springs, the Israeli water company which illegally steals water from the Golan Heights.

2) Puts in place a review process with the aim of suspending all ties to organisations that are publicly known to supply the Israeli military.

3) Sets up a scholarship program for Palestinian Students and commits to a minimum of 10 scholarships.

4) Organizes a collection on campus, including a broadcasting of the DEC appeal, for aid for Gaza, makes available non-monetary aid such as course books, desks etc.

5) Following the letter signed by fifty medical students, that Bute medical school provides medical aid for Palestine in the form of medical equipment


ANY and ALL students are free to join in this demonstration to show their support or to come along to discuss any concerns they may have.

There is a blog here: http://standrewsunioccupation.wordpress.com/
And liveblogging of the incident as it unfolds here: http://twitter.com/StASolidarity
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby d_24 on Wed Feb 18, 2009 3:27 pm

How exciting! I saw all the banners and stuff while walking through the Quad.
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby ojk6 on Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:16 pm

From the twitter site: "Estates have arrived, along with negotiators from the Student Association. Negotiations for freedom of movement and toilet rights progress.."

Negotiation for toilet rights?!

You would think this was some sort of siege taking place in an embassy.
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby Greg1 on Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:23 pm

Well initially toilet access was denied for the students, they are now available.
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby munchingfoo on Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:25 pm

Shouldn't the University just call the police to remove them?
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby Frank on Wed Feb 18, 2009 4:30 pm

As I said to the petitiony people: I agree with some points, and disagree with others. Let's nip along and show the situation is more complex.

Who can make a banner...?
"I AGREE WITH 1,4 & 5 BUT APPROVE OF MILITARY FUNDING. ALSO, WHY FORK OUT FOR SCHOLARSHIPS BASED PURELY ON THE RESULT OF THE CONFLICT? WHERE ARE THE SCHOLARSHIPS FOR EVERY OTHER HARD-DONE-BY GROUP ON THE PLANET!? LASER GUIDED BOMBS: HOORAY!"
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby Garnet on Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:04 pm

munchingfoo wrote:Shouldn't the University just call the police to remove them?


I think the protesters would probably like it to escalate.

Also I signed the petition for Palestine but now I appear to have been put on the mailing list for left soc, or at least the day or two days after I did it I started receiving e-mails, perhaps conscience but still I don't remember signing up to anything like that. Anyone else had this?
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby Guest on Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:08 pm

From their blog:

The University is not available to discuss again tonight, so we’re going to be here for the night! Come visit us in Lower College Hall!

UPDATE!!!

ISLAMIC SOCIETY SPEAKER, 7:00PM

OCCUPATION 101 SHOWING, 8:30PM


Slumber Party!
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby Duggeh on Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:42 pm

Best thing the university can do is completely ignore them. Move classes and events to take place there to other venues. If you ignore the screaming child, they eventually calm down. Make sure to cut off the electricity to the room too, or else bill the ringleaders for their consumption afterwards.
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby KerryFlett on Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:44 pm

I don't have many major issues with what they ask, but
a) They way things are worded seems a bit aggressive (I've always been 'radical but not active' if that doesn't seem counterintuitive)
b) If the uni did end their contracts with these companies (eg Eden water) it would be ordinary workers that would suffer, not the people who are really hurting innocent civilians in Gaza (i.e. the Israeli government)
c) Israel isn't totally in the wrong; they do have a right to safety, but that doesn't give them license to hurt people whose only crime is voting for Hamas, because they were, wait for it-sick of having their human rights abused! Israel has to realise it doesn't have the right to choose what the electorate in another place which is (or is, but isn't recognised as) independent. BUT, Hamas has to realise that people firing rockets into Israel (as might well come about) will only give the IDF et all an excuse for another incursion.
d) This isn't going to work. The university isn't good at doing what people tell it to, especially its students. All this will do is give the university an excuse to say what uppity selfish pseudo-radicals we are (as if Brian Lang hadn't slandered us enough). If they don't care about the longer term effect on students of things like rent increases (essentially excluding poorer students before they even get here)* which are closer to home, then they're hardly going to be persuaded by 1% of the student body cramming into a hall.

I couldn't go in. I might be politically radical, but I've never been a 'direct action' sort of person. I'm too scared of standing out, I'd rather be radical in a quiet, backround sort of way. Even reading it back, that sounds like a complete contradiction in terms, but you know what I mean...

I did sign the petition though. After reading it through veeery veeery carefully!

*I'm not part of LRN. Another example of the keeping-quiet mantra.
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby Haunted on Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:46 pm

It's been a while since there was a good protest I suppose. Let them have their fun.
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby Hennessy on Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:59 pm

munchingfoo wrote:Shouldn't the University just call the police to remove them?


Call the SAS to remove them. Attention-seeking know-it-alls.
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby jequirity on Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:02 pm

Get the Russian Special Forces in, flamethrowers > flashbangs.
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby Hahardy on Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:15 pm

I was speaking with janitors today and they said there are no events taking place in Lower College Hall until next Wednesday- so it's likely the Uni will ignore them until they get bored.

It's kinda funny.
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby Bizarre Atheist on Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:23 pm

Hennessy wrote:Call the SAS to remove them. Attention-seeking know-it-alls.


Good idea. Those snowsports guys are freakin' hardcore!
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby munchingfoo on Wed Feb 18, 2009 6:37 pm

I think that if I awoke tomorrow to the story that 60 students had been killed by the SAS breaking a seige, my first reaction would be to laugh. Obviously, after the realisation that 60 people had been murdered came to me, I would be horrified, but it'd still be funny at the start.
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby jollytiddlywink on Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:37 pm

I can't say that I wholeheartedly agree with all the demands being made, but I applaud the fact that people are willing to take clear action to support a cause in which they quite clearly passionately believe. It may go some way towards shaking off the apparent apathy of students towards political and social issues; not just those that are perhaps far away which, while they do not directly impact us, should still enrage us (epidemics, war and famine in Africa, human rights abuses round the world), but also those which DO impact the students here. The ever-rising costs of accommodation and the university's plans to eliminate a large number of their affordable beds would have produced all sorts of protest and action in the 60s or 70s. And now? We have a small number of people actively protesting, and some other people have joined a Facebook group in support... The 'non-active radical' who posted above seems a perfect case in point.

I despair for the social conscience of students. Maybe there are just too many rich students here, secure in the knowledge that whatever happens to tuition costs and rents, Mummy and Daddy will keep them in the manner to which they have become accustomed.

I cannot see any other response but to applaud people who have beliefs and who are willing to stand up for them and make their case known. Because the protest is non-violent, any debate about whether their methods are wise or suitable is nothing more than misplaced aesthetic sensibility, and is ignoring the real issue.
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby Frank on Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:45 pm

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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby Smeeeeagain! on Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:08 pm

Why don't they just turn off 'eduroam' in the Quad?! That'll silence them... :)
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Re: 60+ students occupy uni building in protest

Postby Cain on Wed Feb 18, 2009 8:19 pm

Do they appreciate the irony of occupying territory to support Palestine?
I hold an element of surprise
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