Durham University UCU staff and students protest on campus in solidarity with Palestine

The UCU claims that Durham University has been ‘notably silent’

Students and staff at Durham University have protested to demonstrate solidarity with Palestine.

Durham’s University and College Union (UCU) enacted a mass walkout and protest in front of the Bill Bryson library in solidarity with Palestinian students and universities on Wednesday 7th February.

A Durham University professor attending the protest criticised how “the university has been notably silent” throughout the situation in Gaza.

Staged at 1pm on Wednesday, the walkout was attended by approximately 130 people, who were comprised mostly of staff members and postgraduate students, with some undergraduate students present, too.

The Durham UCU distributed leaflets urging Durham University to “publicly back calls for a ceasefire and to protect access to education by advocating for the rights of Palestinians”.

Sol Gamsu, president of the Durham UCU branch and sociology professor at Durham University was one attendee at the walkout.

Gamsu commented that “the university has been notably silent” during the conflicts in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Gamsu claims the Durham UCU have “decided to donate £500 to the Durham Palestine Educational Trust (PET) this year and on an annual basis going forward”.

In response to the claims made in the protest, a Durham University spokesperson said: “From the outset of the conflict the University has expressed distress and concern at the plight of Israeli hostages and the appalling number of civilian casualties and humanitarian suffering experienced by the people of Gaza. We have published our statement and detailed Q&As on our website and they have been reviewed regularly and refreshed.

“Our approach is in common with universities across the UK and is informed by close dialogue with Universities UK. The health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and our wider community remains our priority along with the cohesion of our community.

“We reached out swiftly and directly to students and staff affected by these events, including our student societies, to understand their concerns and identify where they may need further support. We remain in dialogue with them, and they continue to receive our support. The Q&As on our website outline in detail how we are supporting students and staff, where they can find support and action they can take, should they experience an incident.”

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