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St Andrews: Student Occupation Enters Second Day

St Andrews Occupation | 19.02.2009 14:04 | University Occupations for Gaza | Palestine | World

The occupation of a key University building by nearly 100 student protestors in St Andrews is now entering its second day after a petition signed by nearly 800 students and lecturers calling for the University to investigate it links with Israel was handed to the University.

This morning the University, after the students repeated their request to meet with the Principle, altered its stance stating that it would only negotiate if the students left the occupied buildings, effectively halting the negotiations.

Natasha Saunders, a fourth-year International Relations student, said, "We were talking with the university until this morning. We are extremely disappointed however that the university decided to halt what we considered to be a productive process."

Rollo Strickland, English student, said, "The reason we are occupying the building in the first place is that the university has shown that it will not take effective measures without active and sustained pressure."

The protestors have five key demands. 
⁃ First, they are calling on the University to immediately suspend its contract with Eden Springs, the Israeli water company which illegally bottles water from the Golan Heights in the Occupied Territories.
⁃ Second, that the University review its research links with BAE Systems, which provide arms and equipment to the Israeli Defence Force, as well as other links to the Israeli military.
⁃ Third, that a scholarship programme is put in place committed to funding 10 scholarships for Palestinian students, as their educational infrastructure has been severely damaged in the recent attacks(1).
⁃ Fourth, that the University broadcast the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) campaign on campus to raise money for the reconstruction of Gaza.
⁃ Finally, to pledge to donate unused equipment and non-monetary aid to the reconstruction of Palestinian universities.

At present, the students have no plans to leave the occupied buildings, and feel assured of the continued support of a sizeable portion of the student body and the 40 academics who have signed the petition.

Said Gregory Hill O'Connor, a first-year Modern History student, "We have had a lot of support from the local community, for instance a local restaurant has offered to supply us with food and supplies until the occupation ends." Said Martin Schmierer, a fourth-year history student, "We are happy with the level of support we have received from the student body. With almost 800 signatures on the petition, we have been one of the fastest-growing movements in St Andrews."

The occupation has already received support from several high level university officials and academics.

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19.02.2009 16:15

We really appreciate all your messages of support. If you would like to send us a message please write to If you do send us a message, we would also ask that you copy it to Dr. Louise Richardson, the Principal, at her office address to make the University aware of the depth of support in this issue. Once again, many thanks.

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