Students stage ‘sit-in’ at University of Glasgow regarding situation in Gaza
Glasgow University since claimed ‘it wasn’t a sit-in’ and that ‘students were there for a matter of minutes’
Glasgow students organised a “sit-in” on Monday 19th November, calling for immediate action to support Palestinian students.
Students with Glasgow Against Arms and Fossil Fuels (GAAF) handed over an open letter to Glasgow University staff, in coordinated action to call on the university to “end its complicity in the ongoing genocide of Palestinians and show solidarity with Palestinian students”, according to their Instagram.
The university has since denied that the event was a “sit in”, and said that “students were there for a matter of minutes”.
The open letter presented to the university at the demonstration on Monday asked management to offer “free tuition for all displaced Palestinian students” and provide “scholarships to Palestinian students on humanitarian grounds”.
The letter also asked the university to “expand partnerships” with Palestinian academic institutions and “initiate a twinning program” to support Palestinian universities.
However, speaking to The Tab, Glasgow University has privately responded to the “sit-in”, claiming they want to “correct some of the misreporting”.
A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said: “It wasn’t a sit-in, students were there for a matter of minutes to hand in a letter to senior management” and that “students did not enter the management offices”, despite GAAF calling people to join them there in the above Instagram post.
After the “sit-in”, the GAAF update said: “Following a sit-in at the University of Glasgow management offices, the university agreed to hold an urgent senior management meeting this evening to discuss the demands of Glasgow Against Arms and Fossil Fuels (GAAF).
“GAAF have been guaranteed a public response by 5pm [Tuesday], and have threatened further action against the university should it fail to act on the group’s four demands.”
The University of Glasgow said to The Tab: “The letter will be responded to in due course and there wasn’t ever going to be a meeting of SMG to discuss it with an agreement to respond by 5pm [Tuesday]”.
In the open letter presented at the “sit-in”, GAAF students called the university “complicit in the ongoing genocide in Palestine” through its investments into arms companies, asking them to “show the same solidarity to Palestinians that they showed to Ukrainians when they too suffered horrific war crimes by invading an imperialist state”. The letter asked the university to divest from all arms companies and prohibit such companies from recruiting on campus.
GAAF activist and English literature student at Glasgow University, Lydia, commented: “All we are asking is that they show the same solidarity to Palestinians that they showed to Ukrainians when they too suffered horrific war crimes by an invading imperialist state.”
Alex, also a GAAF activist and a politics student, said: “The university has a whopping £7 million invested in the murderous arms industry. It has over £1 million invested in BAE Systems, who make laser-guided missile systems for Israel’s F-35 fighter jets, the same jets Israel is using right now in its genocidal bombardment of Palestinians!
“Enough is enough. It’s time for the university to match their rhetoric with action and divest immediately.”
A spokesperson for the University of Glasgow said: “In a public statement issued to all staff and students on the unfolding events in Israel and Palestine since the horrific attacks on 7 October, the University has called for the immediate release of all hostages and a humanitarian ceasefire so that aid can reach those suffering.
“Senior managers are in regular contact with representative groups most affected by the conflict and are happy to meet with others while continuing to offer care and support to all members of our community.”
Picture credit: Lachlan Macrae/GAAF