Pro-Palestine University of Lincoln students set up protest encampment on campus

University of Lincoln student Mason Groves, member of the university's Palestine Solidarity Society
University of Lincoln student Mason Groves, member of the university's Palestine Solidarity Society -Credit:Lincolnshire Live

Pro-Palestine students at the University of Lincoln have set up an encampment as part of a peaceful protest against the war in Gaza. The students, who are members of the Palestine Solidarity Society, have written an open letter to the university demanding its divestment from arms companies and other corporations which they claim are profiting from the war in Gaza.

They say that the university is violating its own Ethical Investment Policy where it claims to "use its best endeavours not to invest in companies whose activities could be seen to endanger individuals or groups of people". Mason Groves, studying a masters in physics at the university, says he and his fellow student protesters will stay at the encampment until the university complies with their demands.

The 21-year-old said: "We're sitting out here to gain attention and focus on our open letter to the university demanding divestment from arms companies that are both aiding and profiting from the genocide in Gaza. We have over 750 signatures, mostly from students and also some members of the public, who are voicing their support for us and the open letter.

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"Hundreds of people have walked past and expressed gratitude and we have received hundreds of pounds of donations in terms of food, supplies and camping equipment. The response from the public has been amazing and very little people have disagreed with us so far. We will be here until the university listens to us and complies with our demands."

The encampment is set up on a green opposite the Lincoln Arts Centre on campus
The encampment is set up on a green opposite the Lincoln Arts Centre on campus -Credit:Lincolnshire Live

The students at the encampment run a rota of activities throughout the day to encourage others to come along and learn more about the cause. They have also received support from the Lincoln & District Palestine Solidarity Campaign group.

A University of Lincoln spokesperson said: "The University is aware of a small peaceful protest on our campus and an open letter from the Palestine Solidarity Society. The conflict in Gaza is understandably a cause of great concern among people across our community.

"As previously stated, we condemn acts of violence against innocent civilians and call on all parties in the conflict to respect international law and to seek peaceful resolution. The University welcomes staff and students from many countries, backgrounds and perspectives as One Community.

"We remain united in the defence of our shared values as one community of diverse nationalities, faiths and cultures. We also have a legal responsibility to protect academic freedom and freedom of speech within the law.

"This includes respecting the right to peaceful protest. Importantly, the University has a duty to protect our students and staff from hate. We will not tolerate antisemitism, Islamophobia or any form of racial or religious discrimination, harassment or abuse targeting members of our community.

"The University is intrinsically connected to its place in Lincolnshire, and our industry-aligned research supports the region’s capacity and capability in UK defence and security, which is also critical to other regional and national priorities, such as UK food and energy security including the transition to green energy. We have robust oversight structures and policies in place to ensure research, strategic partnerships and investments take place within agreed ethical and regulatory frameworks."