Cambridge SU officer resigns over university’s response to conflict in Gaza

Sabbatical officer Harvey Brown has criticised both the SU and university’s response to the conflict

A Cambrudge University SU office has resigned in over the SU and university’s response to the current situation in Gaza.

Welfare & Community Officer Harvey Brown resigned on Tuesday 14th May, announcing his decision to stand-down in a now-deleted post on the SU’s welfare social media pages.

The British-Palestinian national has confirmed that he stands by the post, which contains a statement of his reasons for resigning.

His resignation post, which has been reposted by @cambridgeforpalestine on Instagram, said that he has taken a period of sick leave due to “work-related stress”, and that he felt he had “no other choice” but to stand-down.

Within the post, Harvey cited the negative impact that the role has had on his mental health as the main reason for his resignation, but reiterates that he has “loved fighting for students in my elected role, and this is not a decision I have taken lightly”.

Harvey claims that he found it difficult to continue to exist within an institution that upholds itself through investments in “apartheid and genocide”, after the university’s failure to disclose its investments in companies facilitating the conflict after an FOI sent in March.  

He further condemned both Cambridge University and Cambridge SU, which he described as “flagrantly disconnected” from student movements, and states that he is “ashamed” at the failure of both bodies to condemn Israel’s ongoing actions in Palestine. He views this as a failure of the SU to act-upon their “professed core values”.

Harvey has previously faced criticism for liking tweets regarding the 7th October attacks by Hamas, one of which described the attacks as “a day of celebration”, which he has since apologised for, as reported by Varsity.

Image credit: Leah Whiting

This comes in the wake of the establishment of the Cambridge for Palestine encampment, which the SU allegedly tried to block staff from attending, showing, Brown claims, harsher actions than the university, which was “damaging to staff morale”, particularly given the SU’s historic support of encampments.  

Harvey concluded his statement by urging staff and students to support the encampment and their demands. He stresses the need within the community to stand together against “state-sanctioned violence”, as well as hate in the form of racism, antisemitism, and Islamophobia, wherever it is encountered.

He tells the university toDISCLOSE. DIVEST. REINVEST. PROTECT. WE WILL NOT STOP, WE WILL NOT REST” and finally thanks students and staff he has worked with, stressing that it had been an “honour”.  

Three other SU sabbatical officers have resigned this academic year. Two weeks ago, Women’s officer Rosie Freeman announced her resignation, and Disabilities officer Ell Gardner-Thomas and Postgraduate access, Education, and Participation Officer Anastasia Perysinakis resigned in previous terms.  

Harvey Brown, the university and Cambridge SU have been contacted for comment.

Feature image credit: author’s own screenshot via Cambridge SU

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