Friday, 20 February 2009


Victory to the UWE students' occupation!

After 3 days of occupying the atrium area outside of lecture theatres 2B25 and 2B20 the UWE students occupation in solidarity with the people of Gaza victory has finally been achieved.

Following a series of still ongoing intense negotiations with UWE Vice-Chancellor Steve West and Deputy Vice-Chancellor John Rushforth a significant number of the occupiers' demands have been met.

UWE has agreed to set up a conflict fund for full scholarships for students affected by conflict across the world. This is to be funded by a joint fundraising agreement between students and university, combined with partial funding directly from the university.

In addition to this an agreement has been reached whereby the university will begin this bursary by donating an amount significant enough to provide a full scholarship, along with an agreement to underwrite the same amount for a second student should there be a shortfall in funding. This is subject to an as yet to be agreed trigger amount of funds to be raised by students at UWE.

The University of the West of England has declared that funds held by the university are not invested in any companies or funds. The university declared that all funds are held in deposit bank accounts and therefore are not directly invested. The university simply must give evidence to the above.

The university will present to the governors a proposal for clean investment schemes. Information of which is to be provided by students from the occupation.

The University of the West of England will begin to support the DEC charity. This will be through a combination of supported fundraising events and university publications as appropriate.

The vice-chancellor will send a letter of solidarity and support to the Islamic University In Gaza City.

The Vice-Chancellor will send a critical letter to the BBC & Sky Outlining the University of the West of England's support for the DEC appeal following the afore mentioned institutions refusal to air an emergency appeal.

The University of the West of England will introduce a system whereby any surplus or old resources such as computers, textbooks and furniture will be donated through the DEC appeal

The University of the West of England will set up a committee involving members of the current movement, the student president & the deputy Vice Chancellor as a vehicle to get the practical aspects of the above agreements up and running.

I would like to take this chance to send a thank you to all those who were involved in the occupation and campaign process, also a massive thank you to each and everyone of you out there who showed us the solidarity we needed to keep going through the 3 days, but most importantly the solidarity was shown for our brothers and sisters in Gaza who have to endure constant hardship in their lives. This was never about us, but for the people of Gaza & Palestine. Viva La Palestine!

Three days and counting

The occupation is now in its third day with up to 30 students continuing the occupation overnight despite uncomfortable conditions sleeping in the corridors under constant surveillance by security. Two meetings have been held, drawing crowds of over 80 people to hear discussions about the plight of the Palestinian people. The occupiers have demanded a meeting with the vice chancellor to begin negotiations, which he has conceded to and will take place at 4.00pm this afternoon.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Tony Benn displays solidarity with UWE occupation

Today Tony Benn sent to the UWE occupation a message of solidarity for the on going campaign. He stated.
"I strongly support your occupation. You are utilising a very powerful tool, one thats currently being used all over Britain in support for Gaza"

UWE Occupation Update

19th February 2008 UWE Occupation Update.
The group showed real dedication to the cause today, a day of hectic campaigning was preceded by a shock from the university security team who issued a threat to call in the police. Fortunately this disruption never came to fruition and I am pleased to say that so far the occupation seems to have formed a decent co-operative relationship with the security.

The campaigning was targeted towards an arranged meeting that evening which included speaker and film-maker Ed Hill, a speaker and delegate from the teachers union (NUT) Dick North and a teacher from the local Filton High School, Tracy Dodds which has recently suspended national curriculum for two days in order to educate its pupils on the plight of the Palestinian people and the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

We distributed over a thousand leaflets, placed 500 posters and placed banners in and around the two main campuses of the University, St Mathias & Frenchay, for the meeting. As well as this we had two stalls in operation at the two different campuses. Consequently this led to a major stirring within the university and led to a good level of optimism about the attendance at the meeting.

This has led to a renewed sense of solidarity amongst the students at UWE. Suddenly years of sustained apathy has given to a real sense that actual change can be brought about by student action.

The attendance of the meeting was approaching 80 at times, which for this university was astounding for many of the long time campaigners which have only experienced extremely poor turn outs in the past. After the speeches we opened up the floor to debate about the issue and questions to the panel, this was extremely productive and showed off the varied political spectrum involved with the occupation and solidarity campaign. This then led to a caucus in which we reaffirmed the overwhelming support from the students for the occupation.

We are now pleased to announce that along with recruiting new members from the meeting, we have taken over the lecture theatre in which the meeting was held, a major theatre in the university infrastructure. We as students will stay here and refuse to vacate this lecture theatre until our demands are met. We will continue with our policy of causing no disruption to education at any time, and will politely ask the lecturers for two minutes at the start of each lecture to explain our cause.
Throughout tonight we will be showing various educational films/documentaries on the Palestinian and reaffirming our solidarity within and far more importantly with the people of Gaza & the West Bank.

Occupation So Far Video

We are media stars!

Well at least in the wonderful world of UWE anyhow! Yeah that's right this occupation is "breaking news", we are the most exciting thing to be happening on campus right now!

Here's the report in Western Eye.

Meeting and Film Screening

Just a quick note, there will be a meeting today a 5.30pm in room 2B25 followed by a film screening (speakers and film tbc, will post more when I have the details).