A PRO-PALESTINIAN encampment at the University of York has been set up with no end date in sight.

As The Press reported earlier this week, York Palestine Solidarity Encampment has been set up outside Heslington Hall at the University of York where students and staff plan to remain until they feel the university has done enough to stand in solidarity with Palestine.

With the first day of their camp scheduled for the 76th anniversary of Nakba, the group told reporters that they were there as they felt their list of demands had not yet been met.


Whilst the university announced last month that they will no longer invest in companies that primarily make or sell weapons and defence-related products or services, those in the encampment believed they were still offering indirect support through research partnerships, sponsors, and some administrative facilities.

According to protestors, one such example of this is £11 million given to The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) AI Centres for Doctoral Training, who reportedly partner with BAE Systems.

One member of the camp said: “This sets a precedent of the University not investing personally but still accepting it.”

Another demand on their list was cut ties to Israeli universities and offer scholarships to Palestinian students. Linked to this is support for Fadi Hania – a Gazan student who had to flee the country with his family, something that pro-Palestinian groups helped him raise funds for – reportedly without the support of the University itself.

When The Press arrived on the site, around 4pm on the first afternoon of their encampment (May 15), the mood was relatively positive with ten to fifteen people dotted across the camp – studying, eating, and chatting.

Few were keen to speak openly, fearing negative repercussions (as have reportedly occurred at other universities), and others wore face coverings.

York Press: Signs at the encampment protestSigns at the encampment protest (Image: Newsquest)

According to the protestors, the reaction from university staff so far had been positive with campus security staff coming onto the site to chat with protestors about access arrangements and the Vice Chancellor paying a visit on the first morning on the encampment.

That being said, not all of those at the site were impressed with this – one person saying of the Vice Chancellor’s visit: “We’re waiting to see action on our demands, not just words.”

As of the first day, there is no end date planned for the encampment – whilst students will come and go as exam season progresses, there will be a presence on the campsite ‘indefinitely’ with designated study spaces set up and food donations given.

A GoFundMe, set up on the first morning, had raised around £600 in 5 hours at the time of our visit – this will go towards sustaining those on the campsite with any excess donated directly to groups that support those in Palestine.

A spokesperson for the University said in response to the encampment: “Our campus is a place where difficult issues can be discussed openly and through lawful protest and free speech. We need to make sure we listen and learn from each other, whilst together rejecting all forms of violence, intimidation and harassment.”