the rector raises her voice

University of Fribourg, May 14, 2024.Image: KEYSTONE

A pro-Palestinian occupation movement began on Monday at the University of Fribourg. watson joined the rector of Unifr, Katharina Fromm, this Tuesday.

05/14/2024, 2:43 p.m.05/14/2024, 4:09 p.m.

Pro-Palestinian students calling for a ceasefire in Gaza began an occupation Monday at the University of Fribourg. They left the scene before dark. The occupation was to resume this Tuesday afternoon. Among their demands, the occupiers demand that the commemorative plaque in honor of the first president of Israel, one of the architects of Zionism, Chaim Weizmann, be removed from the Mercy building.

As the daily reminds us Freedom Tuesday in an editorial, Chaim Weizmann was a doctoral student at the University of Friborg at the end of the 19e century. The rector of Unifr answered questions from watson.

Katharina Fromm, Chemieprofessorin and new designer of the Universitaet Fribourg, posed for a Portrait, am Mittwoch, 17. May 2023 in a Chemielabor der Universitaet in Fribourg. (KEY...

Katharina Fromm, rector of Unifr.Image: KEYSTONE

Will the commemorative plaque in tribute to Chaim Weizmann be removed as requested by the occupiers in their demands?
Katharina Fromm: At present, we are taking note of the demands of the occupants and we will discuss them with the other members of the rectorate, then give a response. Generally speaking, Unifr does not allow itself to be used for political purposes, regardless of the nature of the intentions of the people making demands.

Will Unifr suspend or renounce its academic ties with Israeli institutes?
Unifr does not tolerate intimidation of university members or the restriction of scientific freedom by activist circles. Our only institutional link with Israel relates to a student exchange, which, obviously, does not require anyone to benefit from it.

“We would like to reject any amalgamation between government policy and academic institutions which are not responsible for current events”

Is there a time limit, in days or weeks, set for occupants for their occupation?
The limit is zero, no occupancy will be tolerated. It is also important to realize that the occupied area on the Pérolles plateau is a sensitive place with numerous passages of people and goods. In the event of a return to the occupation situation, we would file a criminal complaint for trespassing.

“We are already in contact with the police who showed their presence yesterday afternoon, and to whom we would like to express our greatest thanks for the good collaboration”

Occupation of the Geopolis building in Unil

Video: watson

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