In Geneva, the rectorate will receive students in solidarity with Gaza

In Geneva, the rectorate will receive students in solidarity with Gaza
In Geneva, the rectorate will receive students in solidarity with Gaza

Beginning Tuesday at noon, the occupation of the Uni-Mail hall by around a hundred students in solidarity with the Palestinian people continued overnight, then this Wednesday morning. At 11 a.m., four representatives of the Palestine UniGE Student Coordination (CEP) recalled the demands of the movement: in particular, on the one hand, to obtain from the rectorate “a clear position on the genocide perpetrated by Israel in Gaza” and an appeal to an immediate ceasefire; on the other hand, lead to “the suspension of any collaboration between UniGE with Israeli universities or research institutes”.

To this end, the CEP wanted to meet the rectorate. She won her case. A meeting is scheduled for this Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. with vice-rector Edouard Gentaz. “It’s reciprocal: we want to establish a climate of dialogue,” said the speakers. The day before, discussions had already taken place, but only with University communications and with Frédéric Esposito, the director of the bachelor’s degree in international relations mandated by the rectorate to think about the role of the institution and science in the face of conflicts armed and in crises.

The CEP intends to “advance its demands” to the rectorate. “We know that they are political, but we base ourselves solely on human rights” to carry them, explained its representatives. As for why they should break off all ties with the Israeli academic world, the students “do not deny that in a university there is always a dialogue,” but in this case, this dialogue “is not completely open. We differentiate between students and the administrative body” of Israeli academic institutions. In its letter to the rectorate, the CEP writes that the latter “are fully involved in the population and genocidal project of the State of Israel”.

A new press conference is planned for the afternoon, at the end of the exchange with the rectorate. In any case, the students seem determined to continue the occupation. It was thus indicated that meals were planned “at least until Thursday evening”. Then this cry resonated in the middle of the hall filled with tables, sofas and Palestinian flags (the only ones tolerated, any other partisan political reference being banned) where the occupants went about their business in absolute calm: “Gaza, we are with you and we won’t move!”

“The need to act is legitimate,” says the University

The University released a press release Tuesday evening. She indicated that “faced with the human tragedies taking place in Gaza”, the students’ “need to act” was “understandable and legitimate”. The institution noted that academic activities continued normally, particularly classes. She also considered “central” the “fundamental” question posed by the students, namely “the role of universities (…) in the face of crises which impact society”. Finally, she regretted their decision to occupy the premises overnight, affirming that she would take “all necessary emergency measures to guarantee the safety of those present”.

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