We Establish Second Gaza Solidarity Encampment

19 May 2024

This Sunday morning, on the 14th day since Oxford Action for Palestine's launch and on the 226th day of ongoing genocide in Gaza, we have expanded our Gaza solidarity encampment to the lawn of the Radcliffe Camera, the epicentre of the University. Yesterday, our die-in outside of graduation ceremonies sent a clear message to ViceChancellor Tracey and administration. When nearly fifty students in blood-soaked academic dress blocked entry to the Sheldonian Theatre, with guests and graduands having to climb over protestors to gain entry into the building, this University's continued inaction and silence materalised in a public display of their avoidance.

We reaffirmed our commitment to begin negotiations, and once again, the University made no efforts to come to the table and meet with us. We are escalating accordingly.

Our encampment's expansion sits on the lawn of the Radcliffe Camera, where men such as Alfred Milner, chief architect of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, sat and studied more than 100 years ago. Today, it remains an undying symbol of Oxford's legacy. There can be no business as usual while enabling a genocide. The University must not be allowed to forget this, and, to that end, we will continue to disrupt its functioning until our demands are met.

Despite the rapidly-growing support for the OA4P encampment and its demands, including 1,650+ students, 550+ faculty and staff members, and 14 trade unions and union councils, we have had no direct response to our requests to negotiate and announcement of an assembled negotiations team. As the Vice-Chancellor watches Oxford students get hurt, she still refuses to meet us in negotiations to discuss our demands.

We reiterate that the situation in Gaza is dire, as israel continues its genocidal campaign intent on destroying every feature of Palestinian life before our very eyes. We will remain at the Radcliffe Camera until the University formally enters negotiations with OA4P with intent to meet our demands. Moreover, the negotiation process must be based on the preconditions that have been communicated to the Vice Chancellor via email this morning. History is witnessing each decision the University takes to meet this urgent moment. We urge the Administration to heed the requests of countless students, faculty, staff, and community members - and we urge it to do so immediately.