February 8, 2009

U of Rochester Occupation Ends with Victory for Palestine!

 The fact that students at UR were able to obtain this agreement in nine hours is awesome and should be a great inspiration to student activists everywhere!

The four statements that were drafted were signed by the Dean of Student Affairs.

University of Rochester will commit surplus goods to students in Gaza.

University of Rochester will commit resources and information to develop a Palestinian fund drive.

University of Rochester will commit to research ways to provide scholarships to Gaza strip students.

University of Rochester will commit to help organize a forum to expose or make transparent the investments of the university towards Israel.

This marks a first step in a divestment campaign at the University of Rochester and a model for student occupations against Israeli apartheid to learn from and gain inspiration from. The Dean of Student Affairs was shaking in his seat. This is the first of its kind occupation in this country on this issue and we won in under 9 hours! The administration of the University of Rochester can now be held accountable for signing the statement and can also be pushed further to ultimately get the university to divest from corporations that manufacture artillery, white phosphorus, bulldozers, and everything else that goes into the making of the apartheid. While they put up walls in regards to demanding aid and scholarships to Palestinians, the task now is to out smart them by learning the rules, the laws, and in what way we can work around them.

This is huge and many of us are still in awe of the victory and how quick the university acted when students mounted the pressure on them. Students from Students for a Democratic Society, the Campus Antiwar Network, the International Socialist Organization, Rochester Against War, Iraq Veterans Against the War and others really came together to help shape the direction of the negotiations that took place tonight. Thank you to everyone who called radio and TV stations, emailed other campuses and folks internationally. Thank you to everyone that provided food or extended a hand. Thank you to SDS who called this sit-in on their campuses and invited everyone to participate. Thank you to everyone at the occupation for showing the world what student power and democracy look like.

We feel proud of the step we’ve taken.
No justice. No peace.

- Adriano, TheSitch.com and the Campus Antiwar Network

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