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STUDENT GENERAL MEETING - 5pm, Aug 7

General Meeting of the Student Body, (arrive 4.30pm for 5pm start), Wednesday 7th August 2024, Eastern Avenue Auditorium

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Sydney University Student General Meeting - 5pm (arrive 4.30pm) Wednesday 7 August, Eastern Avenue Auditorium

Sydney University students are encouraged to attend the meeting to vote on the following motions:

Download the Notice & Motions as a PDF

1. Demand USYD cut ties with genocide in Gaza

Preamble:

On April 22nd Students for Palestine Sydney Uni established a peaceful protest encampment as part of our ongoing campaign to stand with the people of Gaza against the bombings, invasion and occupation by Israeli forces. Our struggle is for them, and our encampments are for them. We are horrified at the brutality that is being brought down upon Palestinians. We cannot sit by while it unfolds. To do so would be a moral travesty. We believe in the possibility of a world without war, but that belief demands action.

Even though the camp has ended, the struggle continues. We continue to campaign and protest for Gaza.

Our demands are simple. We call on our university to disclose all of their ties with Israel, divest from those ties, and sign on to the international Boycott Divestment & Sanctions statement. In particular, we are deeply disturbed by the partnerships our university holds with weapons companies known to be part of the Israeli military's supply chain, including Thales and Lockheed Martin. We are peace activists. We firmly believe that universities should be institutions of education and learning and should not have any connection to the weapons industry that brings death and destruction to our world.

We are aware that people in Gaza know about our movement. We have seen photos with the names of Australian universities written on tents and held up on signs in the war zone.  Internationally, governments and institutions have attempted to isolate the Palestinians. Our campaign strives to show those in Gaza that they do not walk alone. We want to show that young people in this country are with our brothers and sisters in Gaza. We stand with them, we breathe with them, we share their sorrows, we raise their flag.

We reject all forms of racism and discrimination including Islamophobia, antisemitism, sexism and homophobia. Opposition to the state of Israel and to Zionism as an ideology is not antisemitism. Many of the student leaders of our protests are Jewish. We stand alongside Jewish people against discrimination, and we see ourselves as standing on the shoulders of a long line of Jewish pro-Palestine and anti-war activists.

In an attempt to silence our activism, the Sydney University Senate adopted a new draconian Campus Access Policy which attacks the right to free speech on campus. It mandates that all students and staff must now seek 72-hour approval from the university to protest, set up a stall or even put up a poster. This is a massive affront to student free speech which allows Sydney University to give itself the right to shut down activism on campus and make itself immune to staff and student opposition.

We call for university management to answer our demands. We have learnt that negotiations are a dead end, with nothing but hollow PR gestures offered from Mark Scott. We have launched this campaign for a Student General Meeting to demonstrate the profound depth of support for the Palestinian cause that exists on our campuses, and to strengthen our demand that Mark Scott and his executives respond to our campaign in a public forum where their answers can be subject to the scrutiny of the student body and the community.

We are part of a global movement for an end to genocide and apartheid in Gaza, for peace and against racism and imperialism. It's time for USyd to listen to our calls and take a stand on the right side of history.

Platform:

  1. The SRC demands that USYD cut ties with Thales and all weapons companies conducting research at USYD.
  2. The SRC demands USYD cut ties with Israeli academic institutions, such as Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, and Technion - Israel Institute of Technology and abolish the OLES2155: Experience Israel.
  3. The SRC demands USYD disclose and divest from any financial investment in Israel. 
  4. The SRC demands USYD rescind academic discipline measures against pro-Palestine student activists.
  5. The SRC demands USYD drops the “Campus Access Policy” immediately as a denial of free speech and the right to organise and protest on campus.

Actions:

  1. The SRC will post this motion on its social media.
  2. The SRC will continue to campaign to win these demands through protests and activism.
  3. The SRC will defy the “Campus Access Policy 2024” in order to continue campaigning around Palestine with activities such as protests, stalls and putting up posters. 

Mover: Shovan Bhattarai
Seconder: Grace Street

2. One Palestinian State, affirm the Right to Resist

Preamble:
Students’ Against War is initiating this motion because if the campaign for Palestine at USYD is going to win, then student activists must commit themselves to building a mass, militant student movement on campus that uses strategies such as strikes and sit-ins, and also affirm the right of Palestinians to armed resistance, and backs the call for a single, democratic, secular state from the river to the sea. 

As our University represses and disciplines students for supporting Palestine, it is critical to take an assertive and confident political stance. The expulsion of pro-Palestine activist Beatrice Tucker was justified by ANU on the grounds that their support for the right of occupied peoples to armed resistance constituted an endorsement of terrorism. Similarly, USYD students Angus and Maeve have been suspended for making lecture announcements for Palestine, because USYD claims that their outspoken support for Palestine would endanger Jewish students on campus. We must be prepared to defend activists from these right-wing smear campaigns, and we must consistently defend the legitimacy of armed resistance in the face of genocide in accordance with international law. The real terrorism is that of the Apartheid state of Israel. 

By clearly supporting a single secular Palestinian state where Muslims, Jews, and people of all faiths and backgrounds have equal rights, we can argue against the smears of antisemitism which are used to delegitimise the movement. By refusing to back down in the face of the repression of student activists and the smears of antisemitism, we can continue to build and strengthen the movement, spreading it into every classroom and lecture hall. Only a mass student movement can win our demands.

Platform:

  1. This SGM recognises that demanding Sydney University cut ties with companies and institutions complicit in Israel's genocide is part a wider struggle for Palestinian liberation. 
  2. As part of this we call for a single, secular democratic state across all of historic Palestine, from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. This would be a single state where Palestinians, Jews, Muslims, and people of all faiths and backgrounds live in freedom and equality.
  3. We recognise the right to armed resistance Palestinians have under international law as an occupied people. All the violence in Palestine and Israel is a result of the Israeli state, its occupation of Palestine, and the apartheid system inflicted on Palestinians. The violence of the oppressed is never equivalent to the violence of the oppressor.    
  4. Resistance to the apartheid state of Israel and opposition to Zionism as an ideology is not antisemitism.

Actions:

  1. We pledge to disrupt business as usual at USYD whilst our university is complicit in genocide and has not agreed to our demands to cut ties with Israel.
  2. We commit to using actions like walk-offs, sit-ins, mass rallies, and strikes to force our university to cut ties with Israel.   
  3. The SRC will release a statement endorsing the call for a single, secular democratic state across all of historic Palestine, and affirms the right of Palestinians to armed resistance as an occupied people under international law.


Moved: Jacob Starling
Seconded: Salma Mardawie

 
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