Student Gaza protest shuts down entire media building 

Student occupation for Palestine shuts down entire media department building for International Women’s Day. Pic: Alice Chapman 

Students have taken over the entire media department building at Goldsmiths, blocking classes from going ahead in solidarity with a free Palestine.  

For the past 18 days, students have occupied a floor in the Professor Stuart Hall Building, sleeping in the building, and running human rights-based workshops and film screenings.  

Banner being put up outside the building. Pic: Alice Chapman 

Although the student occupation has been ongoing for more than two weeks, today, International Women’s Day is the first time that the occupiers have not allowed classes in the whole building to go ahead or the cafes to operate as normal.  

Previously, classes that were scheduled for the occupied rooms have been rescheduled to a different location, but today, the whole building is being occupied by those protesting in support of a Free Palestine.  

Palestinian flag outside the building. Pic: Alice Chapman 

This action is taking place as the Senior Management Team at Goldsmiths has “failed to engage with the demands laid out when students first occupied on 20 February”, the occupiers have said in a press release.  

At 12pm there was a rally outside the building; from 1:30-5pm there were International Women’s Day teach-ins taking place, and at 5pm there was a mass student meeting.  

The occupation will continue until there is a coherent response from the senior management team at Goldsmiths, the occupiers told ELL.  

Samira Ali, one of the occupiers, spoke to Eastlondonlines about the reason for escalating the ongoing actions for International Women’s Day.  

“We are here celebrating the real tradition of International Women’s Day- the struggle of working women. We stand in solidarity with Palestinian women who are going through unimaginable suffering in Gaza today.

“But we also celebrate those women, who are not just victims of their oppression but active in the resistance against it.” 

The students are demanding that the Senior Management team must: 

  • Release a new statement to the Goldsmiths website, and all students and staff, naming and condemning the genocide immediately. 
  • Scrap the new protest guidelines and indicate actions that they will take to protect academic and political freedom for staff and students. 
  • SMT and relevant entities must give clearer commitments to specific academic scholarships, fellowships and programs to be implemented. A suggestion of extending existing scholarships to cover two years of study, implementing an undergraduate scholarship for Palestinian students, and introducing new scholarships specifically for people from Gaza and disabled Palestinians. 
  • A written letter or statement recognising that investing in a fund which has Nice Ltd in its portfolio is an act of complicity in genocide perpetrated by the Israeli state. 
  • SMT’s response that the decision to revoke the IHRA definition of antisemitism would require the academic board to pass it by a vote is insufficient. Demand that the next academic board meeting be rescheduled for a date as soon as possible and that the issue of revoking the definition be on the agenda of that meeting.  

Whiteboard with the list of demands. Pic: Alice Chapman 

A spokesperson for Goldsmiths, University of London, previously told Eastlondonlines: “From the beginning of the conflict, the College’s leadership team has prioritised the wellbeing and safety of all our students and staff while calling for our community to speak and act in ways which hold at the centre the human pain, loss and suffering being experienced in the ongoing crisis. 

“While recognising it is not able to speak on behalf of all our community, the College’s leadership team has condemned the disregard shown for the fundamental human rights of Israeli and Palestinian civilians.  

“In a statement shared with all students and staff, the leadership team has called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the release of all hostages and said that ending the war and finding meaningful peace must be the priority of all those in the region who have the power to bring about positive change.” 

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