Exeter, Devon UK • Jul 24, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home News University responds to student protestors

University responds to student protestors

Editor-in-Chief Callum Martin summarises the University's lengthy response to the Exeter Liberation Encampment.
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University of Exeter (via Wikimedia Commons)

In the early hours of Tuesday 14th May, student demonstrators set up a protest encampment on Streatham campus, making various demands of the University regarding its alleged ties with Israel in the light of its bloody military actions in Gaza. Protestors have called the University “complicit in genocide.”

The encampment protestors have also laid down in Northcote House reception, placed flags and messages around campus, and chanted in the Forum during a recent Open Day.

As a result, on Wednesday 5th June the University Executive Board sent a long and comprehensive email out to all Exeter students.

While acknowledging the right to protest, the University says that recent behaviours, such as “filming members of staff without permission, obstructing access to buildings, noise disturbances during examinations…and significant interference with Open Days” have gone “beyond acceptable conduct for peaceful protest and respectful discourse.”

Protestors have called the University “complicit in genocide.”

As a result, the University has asked students to leave the encampment “as soon as possible.”

The University also specifically addressed several of the protestors claims.

For instance, in response to the protestor’s call for a cessation of all ties with Israeli universities, – the Executive Board stated that no such formal partnership or programme exists. They say that any existing links are between individual academics, and therefore subject to the free choice of the academic.

The University also denied having any ties with relevant military, defence or security companies – but they “accept that some of the companies in which our investment managers or their agents may have made minor investments can be shown to have indirect links to Israel.”

They also claim to be “actively considering ways in which the University of Exeter, through our expertise, influence and activity, can contribute to the post-conflict reconstruction of Palestinian higher education.”

Following the email, the encampment issued a response of its own. They wrote on Instagram “Yet another example of the University of Exeter saying one thing and doing another…members of our coalition have consistently been subject to harassment, doxxing racism and abuse. Regularly, when these concerns have been raised…we have received zero response.”

They went on to write – “just because you put it in an email, doesn’t make it true.”

“Just because you put it in an email doesn’t make it true.”

Exeter Liberation Encampment

Where the protest will go from here remains to be seen. On Friday 14th June, term 3 will be officially over. Hundreds of students have already left. The demonstrators will soon be protesting on a campus that is largely empty, effectively shouting into an abyss.

To many, it seems these recent developments represent an escalation of tension and a breakdown of communication between the protestors and the University.

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