As your Student Executive Officers at Leeds University Union, we first and foremost are here to listen and support students. We condemn acts of violence that affect them and their families such as those happening in Occupied Palestine and Gaza. The statistics, accurate as of Friday 21 May, show that 232 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including 65 children, and 12 Israelis, including 2 children. We acknowledge the human rights violations, forced eviction of the families of Sheikh Jarrah, the violence against worshippers in Masjid Al Aqsa, excessive Israeli military force on civilians and children, as well as acts viewed as crimes under international law. As the UN Human Rights Office has warned, “The transfer of parts of an occupying Power’s civilian population into the territory that it occupies is prohibited under international humanitarian law and may amount to a war crime” and we wholly condemn these acts of violence.
On Monday 17 of May, as a team we were able to attend the Palestine Solidarity Group protest on Campus, working with organisers to ensure it could go ahead. We have always and will continue to support students in pursuit of justice and liberation for oppressed and marginalised groups. This is not the time to sit on the fence and we stand in Solidarity with our Palestinian students.
As student officers we have access to senior members of the University of Leeds and this enables us to to represent the concerns of our student body. We have a partnership with them that allows us to keep each other accountable.
Therefore, we will be calling on the University to discuss with us the situation and whether there are any financial ties to relevant international companies that may be of concern to our students. If this is the case, we will be asking them to divest from these companies, as per their ethical investment policy. This policy holds companies accountable to their overseas operations, protecting human rights, supply chains, and more.
We are also concerned by the increase in anti-Semitic incidents reported both locally and nationally over the last week, and we would like to reiterate that there is no place for hate in our community. We condemn anti-Semitism in all forms and advocate for liberation and anti-racism. Therefore, we do not accept anti-Semitism masked as Pro-Palestinian sentiment. Anti-Semitism masked in this nature is unacceptable and undermines Jewish-Palestinian solidarity.
As such we would encourage all students to report any cases of hate crime, religious intolerance or racism, using the University’s online reporting form and to seek support from our advice services.
We also appreciate that this has been a very traumatic time for some of our students and we want you to know that LUU is here to listen.
We encourage anyone who may be struggling to reach out to LUU’s help and support services:
Phone: 0113 3801 400
University of Leeds Counselling and Wellbeing Team also provide same-day appointments with one of our practitioners regarding your mental health and wellbeing, which you can book by calling 0113 343 5038 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. To explore more of the help and support services available at the University visit the Counselling and Wellbeing Website.
We recommend that if you are interested in political campaigns on Palestian Solidarity to join our student led LUU Palestine Solidarity Group.
We would also like to signpost to our Jewish Society that can provide peer support and a sense of community for our Jewish students while they are here in Leeds.
LUU will strive to take action on our commitment to being an anti-racist organisation. We will continue to challenge barriers and inequalities within education, advocating for liberation and equity. We would call upon all members of our student community to educate ourselves on anti-racism and speaking out against injustice wherever it is found.
Your Student Exec