Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Response to the Vice-Chancellor

Dear Professor Purcell

Re: University of Plymouth occupation in solidarity with Gaza

We are aware of your request for the occupying students to leave room 202 of the Smeaton building by tomorrow morning. However, we feel that the proposals presented to us by Dr Anita Jellings do not sufficiently address our concerns. Furthermore, we feel that these issues merit your personal attention and response, for which we would be most grateful.

We wish to reiterate the fact that the occupying students will not disturb the lectures of our fellow students taking place in the room. Today the university management decided to relocate lectures to alternative locations. The occupying students would be keen for lectures to continue in this room without interruption. We are willing for a small group to remain unobtrusively at the back of the room, as a symbolic presence.

With regards to your response to the demand that the university issue a statement condemning Israel’s actions in Gaza, we request that this demand be raised with the Chief Executive’s Group for debate. Should they come to the same conclusion, we request a formal statement explaining their reasons; in particular why the University of Plymouth cannot condemn human rights violations.

The university’s proposed ethical investment plan is not specific to our concerns. A proposed solution we would be happy with would include a review of the University’s indirect investments and activities with BAE Systems at the next Sustainability Group meeting. We request confirmation of such.

We are pleased with your proposition to work with other universities to provide surplus teaching materials to students at the University of Gaza, however we request that this be formally guaranteed and documented. Furthermore, we are pleased that you are willing to consider the request to provide six students from Gaza University with scholarships at the University of Plymouth, although we request that this be formally confirmed rather than merely considered.

We look forward to your personal response on these terms.

The occupying students of the University of Plymouth

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