Students meet with Vice Chancellor to ask UEA to “divest from Israeli violence”

According to a press release from  Decolonise Hum UEA, on 21 June students at the University of East Anglia met with Vice Chancellor, Professor David Richardson, “to discuss divestment from companies complicit in Israeli violations of international law”.

During the meeting, students asked Prof. Richardson “to divest all capital” currently held in companies promoting “the colonisation of Palestine and to develop an ethical and open investment, procurement and banking policy with a student-staff involvement.” 

In November, Professor David Richardson led a university group aiming to address racial harassment in higher education in the UK. The Universities UK (UUK) recommended universities “engage directly with staff and students with lived experience of racial harassment”. 

In May, UEA students and staff gathered to protest in support for Palestinians against Israel at the Square, run by the UEA Arab Society and UEA Palestinian Solidarity Society. The protests were followed by another rally through the City Centre and elsewhere around the county. 

According to a Freedom of Information request, the University has £165,796 invested in AXA and HSBC combined, whilst the Norwich Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) estimates that Norwich University of the Arts has as much as £582,240 invested in pro Israeli companies. The PSC has also been involved in the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. 

After the efforts of the UUK to tackle racism within higher education, the BDS movement now aims to encourage companies and institutions, including UEA, to withdraw financial support for Israel. 

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Sam Gordon Webb

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November 2021
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