Encampment negotiations disrupted by Cambridge For Palestine rally

Negotiations were disrupted by student protestors on 31st May

Cambridge students held an emergency rally outside the Student Services building this afternoon, Friday 31st May, aiming to disrupt ongoing negotiations between Cambridge For Palestine and the university administration.

As reported by Varsity, over 300 students were involved in the protest outside the Student Services building on New Museums Site, where student examinations were being also held this afternoon.

The rally was organised in the early hours of Friday morning to facilitate Cambridge For Palestine’s goals for the ongoing negotiations between the group and senior administrative staff representing the university.

As a result of today’s negotiations, Cambridge University announced the Humanitarian Response Fund for students “whose homes are in conflict zones and humanitarian crises as defined by the UNICEF Level 2 and Level 3 Emergencies List“, who “have Refugee, Asylum Seeker, or Humanitarian Protection Status” or “where the situation in their home country prevents them from travelling home”.

The fund currently consists of £100,000 which will be administered by the university’s International Response Task Force, who will reportedly release funds to students most in need via individual applications.

According to Varsity, a Cambridge For Palestine representative announced that Cambridge University had agreed to fund two scholarship places for “current Palestinian offer-holders who were otherwise without funding” before the rally commenced.

In an Instagram post from this evening, Cambridge For Palestine attributes the acceleration of the fund to “pressure from the encampment”.

However, the group has also reiterated that they are “not satisfied” with the university’s lack of response to their demands for disclosure and divestment of current investments in pro-Israeli organisations, despite the university’s pledge to reinvest existing funds in students from conflict zones such as Palestine.

The encampment outside King’s College will reportedly remain in place until all of Cambridge For Palestine’s demands have been met.

A banner detailing Cambridge For Palestine’s demands for the university to disclose, divest and reinvest their current investments and protect at-risk Palestinian students can currently be seen at the encampment on King’s Parade

Varsity has reported that pro-vice-chancellor for Education Bhaskar Vira and pro-vice-chancellor for University Community and Engagement Kamal Munir were unable to leave the New Museums Site for at least five minutes after negotiations concluded, as the sites’ gates had been locked to deter further protestors.