May 26, 2024

Columbus Post

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University of Lausanne: Gaza conflict threatens to escalate


Deadline is overThreats of police action: Gaza protests intensifying at Lausanne University?

The deadline set by the University of Lausanne for the demonstrators has passed. There is a risk of eviction by the police.

Jonas Bucher
  • At the University of Lausanne, protesters have been occupying the halls of the Geopolis building for five days to demonstrate against the war in Gaza.

  • The university administration has issued a warning: the building must be vacated by Monday.

  • University administration tries to avoid police eviction.

At the University of Lausanne (UNIL), demonstrators occupied the halls of the Geopolis building for five days. The university has given a deadline to vacate the building by Monday. However, the Gaza protests continue. 800 to 1000 people are expected to participate.

The university said it was ready to offer space at the opening and called on the protesters to nominate six representatives to continue negotiations. Another condition is that they must be exclusively members of the university community.

There is a risk of eviction by the police

According to the university administration, Tmedia Newspapers Primarily Geopolis is concerned with quickly ending the occupation of the building because, as emphasized in communications to activists, it is designed for teaching and research and should not be used for such purposes.

The administration continued that it was trying to avoid a police eviction. Activists call upon the university administration to appear in person at the university building at 6 pm on Tuesday and take a public stand. However, it seems highly uncertain whether the Rectorate will comply with this request. Signals from the rectory on Monday evening indicated that aggression would no longer be tolerated. The building may be evacuated by the police.

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UNIL should sever ties with Israel

Students at the University of Lausanne are demanding concrete action from the university administration in response to the war in Gaza. They demand an immediate cease-fire and that the university publish a list of Israeli universities with which it is currently cooperating. Also, the university should sever all ties with these institutes and stop ongoing research projects.

The students’ demands in a media release should be understood as an expression of their rejection of what they describe as “the genocide in Gaza and the war crimes of the colonial state of Israel.”

No direct programs with Israeli universities

The Rectorate of the University of Lausanne clarifies that it has no direct projects with Israeli universities, but maintains academic exchanges with students and researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Researchers from Lausanne are involved in six Israel-related projects that are currently undergoing content review. The university administration further asserts that it will not make a political statement, but instead joins international efforts committed to protecting the lives and physical integrity of the public.

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