12 May 2024

After so many disturbing reports of university administrations in Western countries who have ignored their commitment to free speech including the right to demonstrate and protest, it is greatly encouraging to learn that at least a few of them have not forgotten the principles that underpin free institutions. Here we publish the statement agreed between the College’s senior management team, the Gaza4Palestine organisation on campus and the Students’ Union.

Commitments to Goldsmiths for Palestine

Goldsmiths is working to meet a set of commitments made to Goldsmiths for Palestine (G4P), following the group’s occupation of the Professor Stuart Hall building in Spring term 2024.

The College’s Senior Management Team (SMT) undertakes to deliver on these commitments to the best of its ability, supported by colleagues across the College.

1 – New public statement

  • A collaborative statement between G4P, SMT and the SU will be publicly released. The public statement will be published on the Goldsmiths website and circulated with the student and staff community on the same day
  • SMT will also write to the UK government Minister for Higher Education as well the local MP, Vicky Foxcroft, to flag the work being undertaken at Goldsmiths in support of rebuilding education in Palestine

2 – Students’ right to protest and academic freedom

  • SMT will review the protest guidelines within the context that they were published in response to a rise in campus demonstrations as a result of the Israel-Hamas war. SMT recognises the environment facing Muslim students and will review the protest guidelines to ensure it is providing a safe and supportive environment for Muslim members of our community in line with our principles and duties which include providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community including Jewish students and staff. G4P and other student groups via Goldsmiths Students’ Union will have an opportunity to be part of the review process with the results presented during Summer term 2024. Any necessary changes identified by the review would be implemented before the end of the Summer term
  • In relation to body-worn cameras, SMT will revise the College’s CCTV policy by adding procedural guidance about the use of body-worn cameras, including verbal notification of use. SMT expects to update the policy early in the Summer term. SMT will also publish interim guidance by Friday 10 May
  • Alongside this, SMT will conduct a broader review of college CCTV policies and data handling procedures in relation to CCTV footage. SMT are beginning a rapid review of good practice in line with Association of University Chief Security Officers guidance. This review is expected to be delivered in the first half of Summer term 2024
  • The guidline and policy reviews and any ensuing amendments will go through the College’s standard governance channels

3 – Supporting Palestinian education and scholarship

  • SMT has extended the number of Humanitarian Scholarships for postgraduate students from two to three at a total value equivalent to £120,000 – £60,000 in living costs grants and £60,000 in fee-waivers – for starters in 2024/25 entry. They will be renamed as Palestinian Scholarships, given existing eligibility criteria
  • SMT pledge to introduce undergraduate scholarship support for Palestinian students. SMT has committed to proposing two undergraduate scholarships in place for 2025 entry, with appropriate governance groups looking into their feasibility
  • A Steering Group will be established, which will include G4P and other stakeholders at the College. The core duty of this group will be to guide the College’s work on delivering support to rebuild universities and scholarship in Gaza. This will include developing and delivering a College-wide strategy for engaging with Palestinian universities, including twinning opportunities. The Steering Group will report into the Race Justice Strategy Board
  • SMT will apply for the Said Foundation scholarships which are available to 20 students at UK universities
  • SMT commits to the Universities of Sanctuary principles, and to applying to become a University of Sanctuary

4 – Reviewing the College’s investment policy

  • SMT will raise concerns on behalf of G4P with the college’s ethical investment fund manager, CCLA, on the ethics of their portfolio and ethical fund policy. This will be done by Friday 10 May
  • SMT agree that the college’s own ethical investment policy must be reviewed and revised. The review will be undertaken by the Finance and Resources Committee, whose membership includes student representation from the SU President and a member nominated by the SU President
  • SMT will also explore switching to an alternative fund manager on an ethical basis in line with the new investment policy alongside considerations such as securing the best returns on our investments and any other statutory duties related to public funds. G4P are welcome to submit their evidence to this committee and arrangements will be made to do this before the end of the Summer term
  • The Honorary Degrees and Fellowships Committee will undertake a review of all recipients who have made a donation to the College in the last 10 years in the first instance. The process of this review will be started at the next meeting of the Honorary Degrees and Fellowships Committee, which will also consider the Terms of Reference of this review.
  • SMT commits to the installation of a jointly-agreed exhibition wall on the lower ground floor of the Professor Stuart Hall Building to memorialise G4P’s student occupation
  • SMT also supports the creation of an archive on the legacy of student occupations at the college, to be overseen by colleagues from the Library and Special Archives. The processes of archiving will begin immediately with the aim of finishing it by the end of this academic year
  • SMT commits to supporting a proposal to rename one of the lecture theatres on the LG floor of the PSH building after Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was killed while reporting on conflict. This will be done in conjunction with an ongoing proposal to rename one of the lecture theatres in memory of the New Cross fire. We recognise the vital role played by journalists in war and feel it is appropriate especially given that the Professor Stuart Hall building is where our journalism students learn and develop their practice
  • The renaming of the lecture theatre will go through the College’s standard governance channels

Last updated: 3 May 2024