“Major Win” for Pro-Palestine Students as Melbourne University Agrees to Disclose Ties With Weapons Companies

Australia Oceania International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News May 23, 2024

University of Melbourne, Australia

The University of Melbourne reached a deal on Wednesday night with students occupying a university facility for more than a week to protest against the war in Gaza.

The university has promised it will disclose all ties with weapons companies as the key demand of students, becoming the first education institution in Australia to agree with some of the pro-Palestine protesters’ demands, Erudera.com reports.

University of Melbourne for Palestine organizer Dana Alshaer, who has been leading the negotiations between students and the university, described the news as a “major win,” adding that it is only the first step.

“After months of campaigning - rallies, petitions, meetings, and in recent weeks, the encampment, the University of Melbourne has finally agreed to meet an important demand of our campaign: to disclose all research partnerships with weapons manufacturers,” UniMelb 4 Palestine said.

Following the institution’s decision, students will end on Thursday morning their week-long encampment in the Arts West building and on the South Lawn.

“We welcome the willingness of the occupiers to leave the Arts West building and remove the encampment from our Parkville campus,” the University of Melbourne said in a statement released Wednesday, May 22.

The school has not yet released any statement regarding the agreement with student protesters who set up camps at several Melbourne universities. Pro-Palestinian students have given the school until next month to disclose its research connections to weapon companies.

The first camp at the University of Melbourne in protest against the war in Gaza, inspired by demonstrations across the United States, started on the South Lawn last month, with protesters pledging to stay there until the university ends partnerships with Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and BAE systems.

On Wednesday, hundreds of protesters entered the Arts West building at the University of Melbourne Parkville campus. They occupied and renamed the building Mahmoud’s Hall after Mahmoud Alnaouq, a young student from Palestine who intended to study at the university but was killed in the Israel-Gaza war on October 20, 2023.

About 10,000 people have signed a petition in support of students and staff participating in pro-Palestine protests after the university leaders threatened those who refused to leave the occupied building with expulsion.

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