We, the concerned students and academics of the University of St. Andrews, demand that the university condemns the illegal bombing and land invasion of Gaza and Israel’s indiscriminate targeting of civilians. In particular, as an educational establishment we urge that it shows practical solidarity with the Islamic University of Gaza and other schools and colleges damaged during the bombing.
We believe that now is the time for the university to firmly and unilaterally cut all financial and commercial ties with any companies that in any way supports the apartheid state of Israel. The university has led the way in adopting a policy of ethical investment. Now is the time for students, staff and management to show that we do not lack the courage to condemn crimes against humanity, nor the generosity to help those who are in such desperate need. Specifically we demand that the university:
1) Immediately suspends and pledges not to renew its contract with Eden Springs, the Israeli water company which illegally steals water from the Golan Heights. It is not enough that this contract run out this year, it must be cancelled now.
2) Puts in place a review process with the aim of suspending all ties to organisations that are publicly known to supply the Israeli military. This would specifically include:
- a) Cutting all ties to BAE Systems, which provides sub-systems/components for Israeli F-16 fighter aircraft. These ties would include BAE funding of research projects at St Andrews University, industrial placements at BAE Systems as part of degrees at the University, and the hosting of any representatives of BAE Systems as part of events at the University;
- b) Cutting the University’s ties with the Systems Engineering for Autonomous Systems Defence Technology Centre (SEAS-DTC), a Ministry of Defence-funded organisation designed to foster collaboration between military industry and academia. Both BAE Systems and Smiths Group are members of this organisation; in addition to BAE’s links with Israel, Smiths Group also provides Israel’s military with F-16 components;
- c) Cutting all ties to the British Government’s military apparatus. Britain has consistently provided Israel with arms and military equipment, and Israeli military officials have attested to the importance of the essential items provided by Britain. The University’s ties include military research projects conducted at St Andrews and funded by, among others, the Ministry of Defence and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory;
- d) Establishing an ethics committee with the responsibility of ensuring that the University of St Andrews does not accept any income in the future from organisations linked to the Israeli military.
3) Sets up a scholarship program for Palestinian Students and commits to a minimum of 10 scholarships. This would send out an important symbolic message that we will not turn a blind eye to the Palestinian students who are unable to study because of the attacks on educational infrastructure and constant state of terror which prevents students from attending university.
4) Organizes a collection on campus, including a broadcasting of the DEC appeal, for aid for Gaza, makes available non-monetary aid such as course books, desks etc. and also establishes links with the Islamic University of Gaza in order to find out how it might aid with reconstruction.
5) Following the letter signed by fifty medical students, that Bute Medical School provides medical aid for Palestine in the form of medical equipment and drugs and through supporting organizations such as medical aid for Palestine (supported by Medsin).
In all of these measures the university might link up with other Scottish and English Universities who are also adopting similar policies in order to develop a common, humanitarian and equitable approach to Israeli companies and those linked to its war machine, as well as to the Palestinian people and its ravaged educational infrastructure.