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Over 170 Oxford faculty and staff sign statement of support for students’ pro-Palestine encampment

Over 170 faculty and staff at Oxford University have signed an open letter expressing their support for the ongoing pro-Palestine encampment. The statement calls for divestment from Israeli actions in Gaza and for support for Palestinian scholars, following the destruction of all universities in Gaza. 

The letter calls that the University produce details of its endowment, displaying investment in arms companies, or items such as warplanes. This is in the hope that “we can have an open discussion on this issue with all the facts in hand.”

They urge the Vice Chancellor to “unequivocally condemn the killing of over a hundred university professors and Israel’s destruction of Gaza’s educational institutions and archives.” All universities within Gaza have been destroyed since 7th October 2023, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa. 

The group joins Oxford Action for Palestine in calling for University aid in the rebuilding of Palestinian universities. They also ask that the University create opportunities for “Palestinian scholars to access library resources and education support online so that they can continue their learning”.

The group “consider[s] our students’ demands entirely reasonable given the University of Oxford’s commitment to global leadership in education and to furthering educational opportunities internationally.” The students demands include, divesting in arms companies and those “complicit in Israeli genocide”, ending all banking with Barclays and boycotting all institutional relationships with Israeli institutions and those who are “complicit in Israeli genocide”. 

Robet Gildea, a history professor at Worcester, told Cherwell: “It is very moving to see that students around Oxford Action for Palestine have set up an encampment to press for peace, justice and freedom in Palestine and to require from the University the highest ethical standards. As someone who marched against the Vietnam War in 1968 I understand the difference that the global protest of youth can make, and I encourage other academics to support this movement.”

Faculty at other universities globally have joined in support with student protestors. At Columbia, staff formed a human barricade around the encampment. Some participated in protecting students out of fear that university autonomy and academic freedom are being removed in crackdowns on peaceful protests. 

The full statement can be read here.

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