We worked on a reply last night and sent it to the VC early this morning. Our reply is as follows:
Dear Professor Purcell
Re: University of Plymouth occupation in solidarity with Gaza
We would like to thank you for your signed agreement to offer surplus resources to Gaza University. However the occupying students still do not feel that the other proposals made by the institution sufficiently address the concerns raised. We feel that failure to speak out against human rights violations is implicitly a form of political statement. Silence does not amount to impartiality. We would ask again that discussion of this issue be brought to the Chief Executive’s Group for debate, and justifications are given for the decisions of that group, in the form of a public statement.
We recognise that one way we can influence the University’s investment policy is through the Sustainability Group and will do so via the Student Parliament and the next Ethical Investment Policy meeting. However we must express disappointment at the University’s lack of public disaffiliation with BAE Systems in particular given their strong industry links with BAE, and the fact that 236 of the 362 Israel Defence Forces F-16 jets were sold to the IDF by BAE systems, which were used in the recent UN-condemned attacks on Gaza. We also see this lack of disaffiliation as a political statement on behalf of the University.
Regarding the provision of scholarships, we commend the university, upon its proposed plans to establish a scheme for the provision of humanitarian scholarships. We would like to see a firm commitment from the university as to the specific number of scholarships to be offered, and feel that this should be no less than six fully funded scholarships. We also feel that given the urgent nature of the current situation in Gaza, the University of Plymouth should commit to offering these humanitarian scholarships to students from Gaza university in the 2009/2010 academic year.
We would like to re-emphasise that we are keen for lectures to continue in this room, as it has never been our aim to disrupt the lectures of our fellow students, and there is no reason why our presence should prevent lectures from taking place as normal.
It is still of our opinion that this issue warrants your personal attention and response.
- The Plymouth Occupying Students