A wave of student occupations – much underreported it seems to me in the media – has been occurring across the UK in solidarity with Gaza. These occupations are being coordinated by the Stop the War Coalition. A website giving details from all the occupations can be found here, and it looks like each individual occupation as got its own blog, linked at the general site. Among the institutions that have seen occupations (many of them shortlived) are Essex, Nottingham, Manchester Metropolitan, Susssex, Oxford, Cambridge, King’s College London, Queen Mary London, the London School of Economics, Warwick, Birmingham, Bradford, and Sheffield Hallam.
The demands raised by the students vary from the unrealistic – e.g. King’s College London revoking Shimon Peres’ honorary doctorate, and taking up general positions on the Israel/Palestine situation – to the more practical – calls for the establishment of scholarships for Palestinian students, given the harassment and degradation of university facilities in Palestine, which seems to have been agreed by Sussex. Although the numbers involved appear to be relatively small in each place, the occupations and accompanying meetings have certainly served to raise consciousness of the situation in Gaza, and should be applauded.
Surprising that nothing similar has been happening this side of the water, I’m sure though we can expect something soon. Hardly the rebirth of serious student politics, but a good sign all in all.
UPDATE: CNN has a story reporting that the NUS, in a very lily-livered move, has called for an end to the occupations.