Solidarity with UoN students in view of eviction threat by management!

This is a version of an email sent to UCU members at the University of Nottingham on Thursday 16th May.

Dear UCU members,
Even though the student encampment on Jubilee campus in support of Palestine has been entirely peaceful, UoN management has moved towards their eviction. In response, I have written today to the VC on behalf of the UCU committee urging management to reconsider their approach to our students (see underneath this message).

The Court hearing will take place tomorrow morning [Friday 17th May] at 11.30 a.m. at Birmingham Civil Justice, Birmingham District Registry, King’s Bench Division, Priory Courts, 33 Bull Street, Birmingham, B4 6DS. If you happen to be close or can make the time, please go there in support of our students.

Finally, there is currently an online petition organised by staff [full text below]. The committee strongly encourages you to sign. [At time of posting, over 150 UoN staff have signed the original petition.]

Committee email to VC, 16 May

Dear Vice Chancellor,

It is with great dismay that we have learned that yesterday the University served the student encampment – which UoN itself pointed out as being peaceful (see – with papers as a first step towards their eviction. And this without even having attempted to engage constructively with the students and their demands. Considering that yesterday marked the anniversary of the Nakba, when 750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes 76 years ago, management could not have chosen a more inopportune moment.

We would like to remind you that the encampment has neither occupied any buildings, nor has it obstructed the normal functioning of day-to-day University business. We therefore urge you to reflect carefully on management’s next steps and whether a constructive dialogue, similar to what has happened at other UK universities, may not be preferable over the application of brute force and the high financial costs this involves.

We also note that similar concerns have already been brought to your attention by staff in the Department of Philosophy with other parts of the university likely to follow.

We have to be clear that should management choose a course of confrontation with the encampment, we as UCU UoN would be left with no alternative but to speak up and condemn this course publicly.

Yours, Andreas (on behalf of the UCU Committee at UoN)

Statement regarding the peaceful protest encampment at the University of Nottingham

As members of staff at the University of Nottingham, we believe that the freedom to protest is essential to our democracy. The right to protest should be respected and protected, especially by institutions such as universities.

Currently, students are engaged in peaceful protest on university campuses across the UK, including an encampment at the University of Nottingham. We are concerned that some universities are not upholding these students’ democratic rights.

The University of Nottingham camp is positioned intentionally such that it does not interfere with the normal use of the university. Students, lecturers and other staff are able to go to work and class without interference. They are friendly, approachable and communal. They are conscientious about safety, tidiness, waste, and hygiene.

The students are a credit to the university. They display the very principles that a university education should be working to instil in students: conscientiousness, passion, the active pursuit of social justice, the advancement of the human condition and a commitment to improving health and wellbeing of all people, wherever they are in the world.

This is a protest that aims to ensure that the university is not contributing to the Israeli military bombardment and invasion of Gaza, which has killed many thousands of people. It is understandable that supporters of Israel’s actions may oppose the camp, but this is not evidence of discrimination or intimidation. It is a diverse and inclusive group. For example, during a vigil for the victims of the current invasion, Jewish students took part and led a prayer of remembrance. The students have created a friendly, welcoming space for all who visit.

We see no reason why the students should be removed from the camp.

Signed statement link: