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Sheffield University students crash The Wave opening in support of Palestine and to protest arms trade links

Students have crashed Sheffield University's formal opening of The Wave in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
Students have crashed Sheffield University's formal opening of The Wave in solidarity with the people of Palestine.

Students have crashed the formal opening of Sheffield University's newest building in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The group arrived at The Wave to challenge the university's links with the arms trade and what they claim is "financial complicity in the ongoing genocide of the Palestinian people".

A spokesperson for the University of Sheffield, said: "We recognise the strength of feeling about the situation in Israel and Gaza and we support the right of students to express their views peacefully and within the law.

Students have disrupted the formal opening of The Wave in solidarity with Palestine.
Students have disrupted the formal opening of The Wave in solidarity with Palestine.

“We also want to remind our students of the behavioural expectations around protests and that racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia or support for proscribed organisations is against the law in the UK.

“We understand that the issues surrounding the conflict in Israel/Gaza can affect many different groups of people – including our students, staff and alumni. We encourage students with concerns to seek support from University support services.”

During a rally outside the building in support of Palestine, students attending the opening reportedly asked Deputy Vice Chancellor Gill Valentine to answer for the University’s financial contracts with BAE Systems, GKN, Boeing, and several other arms manufacturers.

Soon after, another group of students are said to have entered the building to disrupt the event in it's entirity.

The group have called for the university to "divest from all financial partnerships with arms manufacturers and other companies" linked to the war in Gaza and Israel, amongst other demands.

In November 2022, an FOI request uncovered Sheffield University had received £72million from companies involved in the arms trade since 2012. This included nearly £43m from Rolls-Royce and around £8.5m from BAE Systems.

At the time, a spokesperson for the University of Sheffield said: “The University has a wide range of research, development and learning partnerships that work to further innovation, provide opportunities for students and find solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges.“Our connections with industrial partners mean we can help to influence positive change and accelerate more sustainable manufacturing practices – making things faster, cheaper and greener to support our regional and national economy. For example, our work in high-performance lightweight materials has led to the production of lighter, more fuel-efficient cars and planes.

“We have a code of ethics for all of our research and innovation, which ensures there is rigorous governance in place. We are also committed to providing our students with information about a wide range of organisations offering placements and graduate jobs at our careers fairs, so they can make personal informed decisions about their future careers.”