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Issue 1848 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

Keep the Cat Free

Imperial sets out terms for encampment in legal notice

Protestors told not to cause ‘unreasonable disruption’ or intimidate passersby.

Encampment Photo: Walt Gao for Felix


in Issue 1848

Imperial hand-delivered a legal notice to activists on Thursday afternoon outlining the terms that it expects them to comply with in their occupation of a portion of Queen’s Lawn.

The university says that occupiers must not cause ‘unreasonable disruption’ and that if they leave Queen’s Lawn, they will not be allowed to re-enter.

The notice, from Imperial’s legal and regulatory affairs team, says that the College ‘recognises the desire of members of our community to protest peacefully, but any such protest must not interfere with the day-to-day operation of the University.’

It contains a nine-point list of regulations that those on the encampment must follow, prohibiting them from harassing, intimidating or physically harming individuals.

Protestors are forbidden from entering staff office areas, damaging university equipment, and obstructing access to public areas. Alcohol, smoking, and the use of naked flames are banned.

Imperial says that the occupation of Queen’s Lawn – private land – is ‘wholly unauthorised’ and constitutes a trespass. ‘Accordingly [the College] reserves all of its legal rights and remedies and may take appropriate disciplinary or other action it sees fit including the issue of court proceedings.’

A spokesperson for Imperial said: ‘The safety and wellbeing of our community is our number one priority. To protect the health and safety of our entire community, we have set out to the protestors what the University expects in terms of behaviour.’

Imperial letter
The notice sent by Imperial College London to protestors at the Queen’s Lawn encampment on Thursday.

At around 12:45pm on Thursday, pro-Palestinian activists at Imperial established an encampment on Queen’s Lawn after failing to secure commitments from the university to divest from companies ‘supporting the occupation of Palestine’.

Earlier in the day, students met with a delegation of senior staff members representing Imperial to discuss their demands, which included the condemnation of Israel’s actions in Palestine.

The Imperial delegation explained that the university would not be able to make new commitments to meeting the demands in the short term.

Speaking on Thursday, a student involved in the discussions and present at the encampment said: “If [Imperial is] going to continue to not make progress for weeks, we will continue to be there for weeks.”

In a statement released last week, Imperial said it would continue to provide ‘an open forum for debate… of all topics, in which everyone can participate in a respectful manner within the law. It urged students to show compassion for one another, and said that ‘any protest that becomes hateful, unlawful or constitutes harassment or bullying will not be tolerated’.

Israel launched a military offensive in the Gaza Strip after Hamas killed 1,200 people and took 252 others hostage in a surprise attack on Israel’s border.

At least 36,000 have been killed in Gaza since then, according to Palestinian officials from the Hamas-run health ministry.

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