student.union@newcastle.ac.uk

Officer Statement: Addressing the recent violence in Palestine

For students who are feeling vulnerable, please know that we take hate crime very seriously and have a zero-tolerance approach.

A statement from your Sabbatical Officer team

CW: violence in Palestine.

 

As a sabbatical team, we wanted to address the recent violence in Palestine. We are aware that a lot of our students are being affected by the events, therefore we wanted to offer support for those students by signposting them to the relevant University and Union support available. For any students who are feeling vulnerable, please know that we take hate crime very seriously and have a zero-tolerance approach. 

As a team, we thought it would be best to take time to educate ourselves on the various information that has been circulated by students in relation to Newcastle University’s investments; how they work and how the University is involved. We know students have been posting on social media asking for answers from the University about their investments and their links to supplying the Israeli military, and want you to know we have seen this and are taking this forward at the highest level we can. We have now started conversations with Chris Day and relevant senior leadership at the University about these investments and these conversations will continue as we work out a way forward. We are aware that the University currently invests in some companies which generate up to 10% of their revenues from armaments and we want to see this reduced to 0% as soon as possible - a full divestment from any company which profits from armaments. Large organisations such as universities can apply economic pressure for systemic change and have a responsibility to do so. We will update you once the outcomes of these conversations are known.

As a Union, we stand in solidarity with all who are in danger of violence and oppression. The actions of governments deserve to be critiqued and challenged. The actions of our government should be equally challenged and so should the British legacy of colonialism. This critique should however be of the government’s actions and decisions, rather than assuming that people living under a particular government agree with these actions. Tyne and Wear have the largest Jewish population outside of London and we are aware of the increase in antisemitic crimes and do not condone any hate crimes or hate speech directed at any of our students or people in our community. Being pro-Palestine and being against antisemitism should co-exist. The occupation of Palestine and antisemitism are both systems of oppression and we each have a stake in fighting for the other because oppression harms all of us. Whilst a ceasefire has been declared between Israel’s military and Hamas in Palestine, this does not mean the occupation, oppression and fear have ended. It is just as important to continue the work now, to raise awareness, speak up and take action to support all people affected. We stand in solidarity with Palestine.

 

We have listed some support resources below with links to useful web pages which may be of help:

NUSU Know Your Rights - Hate Crime: https://www.nusu.co.uk/support/hatecrime/

Newcastle University Report and Support: https://reportandsupport.ncl.ac.uk

Personal Extenuating Circumstances (PEC): https://www.ncl.ac.uk/student-progress/circumstances/pec/

Newcastle University Student and Staff Wellbeing Services: https://www.ncl.ac.uk/wellbeing/