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Warwick SU calls for a ceasefire

Warwick SU have released a statement calling for an immediate, permanent ceasefire and are condemning the violence taking place in Gaza. You can read it here.

Warwick SU Statement Warwick SU Statement

Many students at Warwick have been deeply affected by the loss of tens of thousands of lives and displacement of millions in Gaza, and the scale of the humanitarian crisis which has unfolded and continues to worsen with the ongoing bombardment of Gaza by the Israeli Defence Force. Many in our community have been worrying for their family and friends and are significantly distressed by the acts of violence and scale of devastation that are visible daily in the media.  

We reiterate our commitment to supporting the students in our community affected by the ongoing violence, whether that be through concern for family, friends and communities in the region, or through experiences closer to home. Escalations in violence in Palestine and Israel have too often seen a parallel rise in anti-Palestinian racism, anti-semitism, and islamophobia globally – this has unfortunately been reflected in the rise of hate crimes in the U.K. since October. Distressingly, we know this has included instances in our community here at Warwick. The dehumanisation of communities both abroad and at home has had a devastating and deeply personal impact on many of our members. We would like to express our heartfelt sympathy and unconditional support to everyone in our community who has experienced such grief, loss, and pain.  

We unequivocally condemn any threat to the safety of students, staff, or visitors to campus based on their identities, or for engaging in dialogue relating to Palestine and Israel. In particular, we highlight the experiences of our Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and Jewish students, who are shamefully targeted above others – this is unacceptable. Our students are not responsible for the actions committed by any party, and they should not be treated as such, nor targeted or disproportionately scrutinised because of their national, religious, or racial identities.  

Discrimination against any student groups will always be taken seriously by WSU. To harass, target, dox, physically or verbally attack students for their contribution to dialogue around this is not acceptable in any forum, whether in person or online. We would encourage any student who feels that they have been targeted in such a way to access support available to them, which we will detail below. 

As a Students’ Union, we strive to support students in our community to engage in dialogue and come to democratic positions on the issues that matter to them. During Term 1’s ASV, students voted in favour of a motion directing Warwick Students’ Union to publicly call for a permanent and immediate ceasefire to end the violence and loss of life in Gaza, and the establishment of a peaceful outcome which would protect the rights of Palestinians under international humanitarian law. The motion and its contents, alongside other motions passed through our ASV, are available in full here.

We know that the pain being experienced by members at Warwick, as well as family, friends and communities across the world, will continue while the violence goes on. In accordance with the motion, we hope and call for an immediate, permanent ceasefire and condemn the violence taking place in Gaza.  

We call for the University of Warwick and the U.K. Government to support the call for a permanent ceasefire and an immediate end to the violence, and we reiterate our existing policy in support of the University divesting from relationships with arms companies and manufacturers who facilitate arms development.  

We feel it is important to acknowledge the length of time that has passed since these motions passed at ASV. The process of putting together this statement has been complex and much lengthier than is standard when the SU issues a statement. This is, in part, due to the strength of feeling around the content of this statement and the language we are using – we would also like to acknowledge that a number of our Officers and Trustees individually feel passionately that our language should be stronger. 

We are a large, member-led charity that is required to represent the full range of students within our membership, and can only do so in relation to our charitable purposes, which focus on the education of students at Warwick. We have to find a balance between the direction we have received through our democratic processes and fulfilling our charitable objectives under law. It has been extremely challenging to reconcile the strength of feeling expressed by students at Warwick with our legal position as a charity, and the requirements and limitations this comes with. Within this, we have and will continue to prioritise respecting the breadth of students whom this union represents. 

We thank our members for their candour and guidance as to how we can better support them and commit to continuing to learn how to ensure our SU and community is one where all students feel safe and welcome. 

If you are facing emotional, financial, or academic challenges, we encourage you to reach out. The Students' Union is here for you, ready to provide guidance and connect you with the support you need during these times. For signposting to the support available, please see our statement from 10/10/23, available here.

 

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