University of Sheffield students crash new building opening in support of Palestine

The group was protesting the university’s arms trade links

A group of students have crashed the formal opening of the University of Sheffield’s new building in support of the Palestinian people.

Arriving at the new building, called ‘The Wave’, the group challenged the university’s links with the arms trade and what they called its “financial complicity in the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people.”

In a statement to The Star, a spokesperson for the University of Sheffield said: “”We recognise the strength of feeling about the situation in Israel and Gaza and we support the right of students to express their views peacefully and within the law.

“We also want to remind our students of the behavioural expectations around protests and that racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia or support for proscribed organisations is against the law in the UK.

“We understand that the issues surrounding the conflict in Israel/Gaza can affect many different groups of people – including our students, staff and alumni. We encourage students with concerns to seek support from University support services.”

In a rally outside the building, it is reported that some students asked Deputy Vice Chancellor Gill Valentine to answer for the university’s contracts with arms manufacturers.

It’s soon after this that another group of students are said to have entered the building to disrupt the event.

According to The Star, the group have called for the university to “divest from all financial partnerships with arms manufacturers and other companies” that are linked to the war in Gaza and Israel, along with other demands.

In November last year, an FOI request revealed that the University of Sheffield had received £72 million from companies involved in the arms trade since 2012.

At the time, a University of Sheffield spokesperson said: “The University has a wide range of research, development and learning partnerships that work to further innovation, provide opportunities for students and find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

“Our connections with industrial partners mean we can help to influence positive change and accelerate more sustainable manufacturing practices – making things faster, cheaper and greener to support our regional and national economy. For example, our work in high-performance lightweight materials has led to the production of lighter, more fuel-efficient cars and planes.

“We have a code of ethics for all of our research and innovation, which ensures there is rigorous governance in place. We are also committed to providing our students with information about a wide range of organisations offering placements and graduate jobs at our careers fairs, so they can make personal informed decisions about their future careers.”

Featured Image by @sheffaction on Twitter

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