Students march through UCD calling on college to end academic ties with Israel

Students also want college to disclose all ties with Israeli institutions and remove Israeli goods from campus

UCD students have entered their 14th day of encampment on campus in solidarity with Palestine.

On Saturday afternoon, about 60 students marched from the bridge at UCD’s Stillorgan entrance, throughout the campus, calling on the university to meet its list of 12 demands.

The camp, organised by UCD Students’ Union (UCDSU) and the college’s Boycott, Divest and Sanctions (BDS) group, is the second such encampment at an Irish university in recent weeks.

Earlier this month, Trinity College students ended a six-day encampment, which had resulted in public access to the Book of Kells being blocked, after the university committed to divest from three Israeli companies in which it held investments as part of its endowment funds.


Speaking to The Irish Times on Saturday, Éabha Hughes (22), who helped set up the encampment, said the students were “two weeks strong and have no intention of leaving until they concede to our demands”.

Their demands include calls for the university to end all academic ties with Israel; to disclose all ties, academic and financial, with Israeli institutions and enterprises; to provide scholarships for Palestinian students and pathways for Palestinian academics to work within UCD; and to remove Israeli goods and supplier contracts from campus.

Other demands include flying the Palestinian flag on campus until a permanent ceasefire is agreed; and the naming of the Centre of Future Learning building, which is under construction, after Palestinian writer and poet Refaat Alareer, who was killed in an air strike in Gaza last December.

“We’re still in negotiations but we’re hoping we can reach an understanding with them soon,” Hughes said.

Social sciences student Aoife (22), said she had been at the encampment since day one and it had received “amazing levels of support particularly from UCD academic staff”.

“From my education in this institution I believe it’s my duty to stand against genocide, against oppression, against colonialism,” she said.

The march on Saturday is one of several protests in solidarity with Palestine in UCD in recent months.

In April, UCD students protested against the visit of Nancy Pelosi, former speaker of the US House of Representatives, to campus to receive an honorary degree.

UCD students’ union president Martha Ní­ Riada was removed from the conferring ceremony by security staff as she called Pelosi “a Zionist and war criminal”.

The Irish Anti-War Movement and the Ireland Palestine Support Campaign were both supporting the protest in UCD on Saturday.

Jim Roche, secretary of the IAWM who is also a founding member of Academics for Palestine, said students have put “their moral obligations for freedom and justice above their own academic success and possibly their future careers”.

“The silence of Irish university leaders, despite multiple calls from hundreds of staff and students, since 8th October has been so disappointing. I support the students’ peaceful encampments and hope that all Irish University leaders will now do the right thing and call for an immediate ceasefire,” he said.

Universities should also “call for sanctions against Israel and announce that they will cease any institutional investments and/or academic collaborations with Israeli government-funded institutions”, Roche added.

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson

Jade Wilson is a reporter for The Irish Times