As reported at Socialist Worker.org, a Communist website:
February 9, 2009
STUDENTS AT the University of Rochester (UR) and their supporters from the community occupied a campus building February 6 in solidarity with the victims of Israel's siege of Gaza--and in a matter of half a day declared victory after winning important concessions from the administration.
The university agreed to a public forum to discuss UR's financial policies,
and its investments in Israel and companies that do business in Israel. It
also promised support for a campus-wide fund drive for Palestine, donations to Gaza of surplus supplies, and international student scholarships for Palestinians.
The occupation came in the wake of a similar actions in British universities that also won their demands--as well as the revived U.S. movement in solidarity with Palestinians, which organized rallies of hundreds and thousands in cities across the country during Israel's onslaught on Gaza.
The administration's agreement at UR was a tangible step forward for
activists and opened the way for new efforts to show our solidarity with the victims of Israel's war on the Palestinians.
Members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) took the lead in raising the issue. Leading up to the occupation, the group submitted an op-ed article in the campus newspaper and issued a letter to the administration, which called for UR to divest from corporations that manufacture weapons and profit from the siege of Gaza, and to provide direct support for the peopleof Gaza.
SDS chose the Goergen Atrium and Auditorium on campus for a sit-in set for February 6. Since the atrium is considered public space, the UR
administration agreed to allow SDS to reserve the Goergen building for a
peaceful occupation between 1 p.m. and 12 midnight. It also agreed that Dean of Students Matthew Burns would meet with students for negotiations.