Students call on UGent to end cooperation with Israeli institutions

More than a hundred students staged a peaceful protest in Ghent University's Ufo building on Friday to draw attention to the situation in Gaza and the climate crisis. 

The students demand that the university stop cooperating with Israeli institutions and threaten to occupy a university building if the demand is not met.

The protest took place just before the start of a university board meeting. Students waited in silence on a staircase leading to the meeting room for the board members and rector Rik Van De Walle to arrive.

Some activists carried a Palestinian flag, others held banners reading "Shoes of Shame" or "End Fossil. End Genocide". A large Palestinian flag lay across the stairs and shoes were spread out on the way to the meeting room.

"These empty shoes symbolise the victims of the climate crisis and the genocide in Gaza," said a student acting as a spokesperson.

The students want the university to draw up an action plan to cut all ties with Israeli institutions and put sustainability at the heart of its budgetary and educational decisions. 

If the university does not meet the demands, they plan to occupy a university building from next Monday. Which building is a secret for now, the student said.

"The university is not listening to us," the student said. "They just ignore the letters we send and the things we say," she said. "We're taking it a step further now because we have no other choice."



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