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HomeNewsUCD students to end pro-Palestine encampment after deal with university chiefs

UCD students to end pro-Palestine encampment after deal with university chiefs

Student activists at UCD are disbanding a pro-Palestine encampment on the campus after a deal with university chiefs to end a month-long standoff over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

The agreement came on the same day as the university had been scheduled to hold its annual festival. That event, which usually brings thousands of visitors to UCD, was cancelled amid the protest for “operational reasons”.

UCD has resolved under the deal with UCD Students’ Union and two other groups to tighten the governance of investments, research grants and procurement. Eight new “sanctuary scholarships” for displaced Palestinian applicants will be established and UCD will support up to four scholars from Palestinian universities.

In a note on Saturday to students and staff, university president Orla Feely said the deal will also end protests associated with the encampment which was set up at the main campus lake on May 11th.

The other parties to the agreement are groups known as UCD Academics for Palestine and UCD Boycott, Divest and Sanctions.

“UCD is a university with a strong commitment to human rights and the rule of law,” the university said in a statement.

“Accordingly, we are outraged by the ongoing mass killing of civilians, the withholding of humanitarian aid, and the destruction in Palestine by Israel.”

Student union president Martha Ní Riada claimed a “major success”, saying activists will continue to press UCD.

“The stark change in approach from a university, which only a month [ago] hadn’t even said Palestine, to releasing the above statement and committing to associated actions shows the power of the student movement,” Ms Ní Riada said on X, formerly Twitter.

“This progress is hard-earned by everyone who camped, attended demonstrations, or donated. I’m incredibly proud of this group who have undoubtedly made a lasting impact on our university.”

The protesters had demanded action from UCD to end academic ties with Israel and disclose all academic and financial links with Israeli institutions and enterprises. They also called on UCD to divest from any Israeli investments, remove any Israeli goods from the campus and end any contracts with suppliers in Israel.

UCD said it had no investments or any bilateral partnerships with Israeli institutions

The deal includes a new working group, with student union nominees, to develop an ethical investment policy within a year for approval by UCD’s governing authority.

The university bursar, in effect the treasurer, will be required to report each year to a committee of the governing authority on the location of all university investments.

The list of research grants to be included in “enhanced” reports to the governing authority from the president will include international partners in each case. Students’ union nominees will also join a group reviewing UCD’s “sustainable procurement” policy.

The Saturday statement said UCD was “particularly appalled” by the destruction of all Gaza universities and attacks on students, faculty and staff.

A similar encampment at Trinity College Dublin ended in early May after the university confirmed plans to fully divest from three Israeli companies in which it held investments as part of its endowment funds.

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