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Student University Occupations: A Growing Movement

St Andrews Occupation | 21.02.2009 14:32 | University Occupations for Gaza | Education | Social Struggles | World

Around 200 students from the University of St. Andrews have been in occupation of Lower College Hall, a key University building, since Wednesday at 12 when a petition signed by over 600 students and staff was handed to the university.

As the occupation enters its fourth day, St. Andrews joins 23 other Universities across the country in taking these steps to directly apply pressure to their respective institutions, many of which are in bulk-buying contracts or coordinate research grants. Most universities have responded by adopting the majority of student demands, with the Edinburgh University occupation ending successfully on Monday 16th though in some cases, such as Sheffield Hallam, the University has forcibly evicted students from the premises.

Student protestors at St Andrews 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 organisations that support 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.
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.

To date, the University has been helpful in facilitating peaceful protest in this facility and students are receiving near-continuous support from a wide-variety of NGOs such as Scottish Jews for a Just Peace and other professors at other universities, both worldwide and in the UK. Since Wednesday, literally hundreds of messages have arrived from individuals showing their support, many of them copied to the address of the Office of the Principal and have received material support both from the student body and from the town.

St Andrews students anticipate remaining in occupation until Monday at the earliest, now that talks have resumed with the University. The Principal, Dr. Richardson, met with the assembled students in Lower College Hall and explored avenues by which these demands could be met.

To send your support, email Please copy any messages to Dr Louise Richardson, at the Office of the Principal, at

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