A statement from the Students' Union on the recent encampment

Read our latest statement on the student-led encampment on the Mile End campus and how to access help and support

On May 13th, a student-led encampment was established in front of the Queens’ Building on our Mile End campus. This action has come in response to the ongoing decimation of Gaza, Palestine and the lack of action from our university. We emphasise here that there are no universities left standing in Gaza and since our last statement, destruction and loss of life has only escalated and increased. The death toll continues to rise, with nearly 35,000 Palestinians reported killed. More recently, Rafah, which was once labelled a safe zone, is now being bombed.

Now more than ever, we maintain our position in solidarity with the people of Palestine for their safety and their right to live in peace. We continue to hope for a diplomatic, anti-war and peaceful solution.

We support our students' right to peaceful assembly and protest and encourage active, constructive dialogue between the campaigners and the Senior Executive Team, including our Principal. The independent group leading the encampment, QMUL Action for Palestine, is part of a larger coalition of student action groups across London fighting for Palestinian Liberation. The Queen Mary branch demands several actions from Queen Mary's Senior Executive Team, including divestment, boycotting particular partnerships, and establishing a scholarship scheme for Palestinian students.

Reflecting on these demands, we recognise that we also need to do more as your Students' Union. Our active student-led mandates support many of the campaigners’ demands that include lobbying the university on divestment, boycotting particular partnerships and re-evaluating their ethical investment policy. We also continue to support establishing a link between Queen Mary and the University of Sanctuary network, which seeks to increase the number of scholarships and other support available to refugees and asylum seekers.

We will continue to ensure that students’ voices are included, heard and valued in all ongoing discussions with the university. We will keep meeting regularly with both students and the university to facilitate productive conversations in which dialogue is handled with care and sensitivity.

This academic year has been extremely difficult for many of our students. Students are hurt and grieving — all whilst balancing the pressures of their studies and research. At this difficult and distressing time, we are here to support you. Please reach out to the Students’ Union directly or the support services below if you need any help.

 

Help & Support

If you are struggling with deadlines, apply for extenuating circumstances and get support here.

If you would like mental health and well-being support, please contact the University's Advice & Counselling Service.

If you have experienced bullying, harassment, or any other hate incidents, report it to the Queen Mary Report and Support service.

 

What else has the Students' Union done this year to support students?

The Students' Union has previously issued statements on the situation in Palestine and Israel.

We have previously met regularly with Friends of Palestine, Jewish & Israel Society, the Union of Jewish Students and continue to meet the university’s Director of Student Experience, to discuss support needs for students and the impact on the student experience.

We are meeting regularly with the university to discuss and resolve issues and to respond to student feedback and needs.

Events run by our student groups from affected communities have been fast-tracked with a variety of fundraising activities and vigils supported. Where requested from students we have worked with university security to ensure additional presence when needed.

We continue to respond to a large variety of feedback, concerns and complaints raised by students, staff and external bodies and the press.

We have worked with students to ensure protests taking place on campus are conducted in a safe and appropriate manner.

 

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