Categories
News Science

Asking for it – Are women responsible for being raped?

One in three students in the UK thinks that a woman is responsible for being raped if she’s drunk.

A woman is totally or partially responsible for being raped if she’s drunk – that’s the shocking view of over a third of students.

And nearly half of them would say she’s in some way responsible if she’d failed to say ‘no’ clearly to the man.

London Student survey carried out by Opinionpanel Research has revealed the attitudes of the UK’s student population to rape. Participants were given six scenarios and asked whether a woman would be totally responsible, partially responsible or not at all responsible for being raped in each.

If a woman was raped when drunk, 31 per cent of students think she’d be partly responsible and a further three per cent that she’d be totally responsible.

Flirting was seen as making a woman partially responsible by twenty-seven per cent of students, with two per cent branding her totally responsible in that situation.

A whopping 44 per cent of students would say the woman was responsible if she’d failed to say ‘no’ clearly to the man, and another four per cent that she was totally responsible.

And if she is alone and walking in a dangerous or deserted area, five per cent of students say she’d be totally responsible for being raped and 26 per cent would hold her partially responsible.

The number of students blaming a woman for being raped were lower given the scenarios that she was wearing sexy or revealing clothes or that she’d had many sexual partners, with 17 per cent saying she’d be partially responsible and two totally responsible in the first instance, and 11 and two per cent in the second.

Male students were on average more likely to consider a woman in some way responsible for being raped than their female colleagues, with the most notable difference of opinion being if a woman was wearing ‘sexy or revealing clothes’. Twenty-six per cent of male students said she’d be totally or partially responsible for being raped in that instance, compared to 14 per cent of female students.

The survey also showed a lack of awareness of rape figures – 50 per cent of students did not know how many women are raped in the UK on average in a year, and 15 per cent thought the figure was under 500.

The figure was even higher for students from London universities, with 19 per cent putting the figure at under 500.

The actual figure – according to the Fawcett Society, who campaign for equality between men and women – is over 47,000. The Home Office recorded 11,648 incidents of ‘rape of a female’ in 2007//08.

When asked ‘what percentage of alleged rapes reported to the police in the UK do you think result in a criminal conviction?’ 24 per cent of students did not know, and just 14 per cent said it was between six and 10 per cent. The national figure is 6.1 per cent. 

Heather Harvey, Amnesty International UK’s Stop Violence Against Women Campaign Manager said: “Amnesty is horrified by the findings of the London Student’s survey of student attitudes to rape.

“A survey we commissioned three years ago showed similar results for people across the UK as a whole. Since then there has been a government publicity campaign aimed at younger men, and police and court commitments to better train those who work with victims.

“But these new findings still show that even among younger people the view that women ‘ask for it’ is stubbornly held. Such attitudes stop victims reporting in the first place and lead to a low conviction rate when juries hear cases. They also create a climate of impunity where men know they can get away with rape as people blame women instead of blaming the rapist.

“It has been consistently pointed out by campaigners like members of the End Violence Against Women campaign that the government has failed to develop a programme of prevention around violence against women – they can do seatbelts, smoking, obesity, binge-drinking so why can’t they start to tackle attitudes like these which ignore violence against women or worse still blame women for it?”

Fieldwork for this research was conducted by Opinionpanel Ltd between 11th and 12th of February 2009. The sample consisted of 1,046 interviews with students at 119 Higher Education (HE) institutions representative of the UK HE population in terms of gender, year group and university type.

University of London reaction:

Emmanuel Akpan-Inwang, LSE Students Union’s Education & Welfare Officer said: “I find the results of this survey extremely disturbing.

“I am shocked and appalled that so many students will lay the blame for such a horrendous act at the feet of a woman. The concept that women ask for it to happen and that men somehow cannot help themselves is an atrocious gross misrepresentation of the facts.

“Government policy has continuously failed victims of rape and sexual assault and they now need to address the scale of public ignorance as well as appallingly low conviction rates.”

Kate Rowley, UCL Union Welfare Officer told London Student: “I’m shocked, but sadly not surprised, by those statistics. There is a huge amount of misunderstanding about the nature of rape, particularly date rape. If you have sex with someone who has refused consent, even if they were in your bed willingly, it is rape.

“It is essential to raise awareness of the law because we live in an age where rape is all too common, but an understanding of the issues is so low that some victims don’t understand that they have experienced serious assault and blame themselves. I hope studies like yours go some way to combating ignorance and prejudice.”

Jesse Fajemisin, Goldsmiths Union Welfare and Education Officer said: “I personally believe that a woman is never responsible for her rape, and that it is completely insensitive and misguided to start mixing the issue of ‘blame’ with women’s responsibility. 

“Whilst I believe we should all take personal responsibility in relation to matters such as safe drinking, this should not translate into attributing blame to a woman if she is raped.  This takes the focus of the male’s actions, and coincides with society’s patriarchal, and sexist mentality that constantly sexualises women.” 

Do you think that a woman is totally responsible, partially responsible or not at all responsible for being raped if:

The woman is drunk.

All students

Totally: 3%

Partially: 31%

Not at all: 65%

Didn’t answer: 2%

Male students

Totally: 4%

Partially: 35%

Not at all: 59%

Didn’t answer: 2%

Female students

Totally: 2%

Partially: 27%

Not at all: 69%

Didn’t answer: 2%

The woman has behaved in a flirtatious manner.

All students

Totally: 2%

Partially: 27%

Not at all: 69%

Didn’t answer: 2%

Male students

Totally: 4%

Partially: 31%

Not at all: 62%

Didn’t answer: 2%

Female students

Totally: 1%

Partially: 23%

Not at all: 74%

Didn’t answer: 2%

The woman has failed to say ‘no’ clearly to the man.

All students

Totally: 4%

Partially: 44%

Not at all: 49%

Didn’t answer: 2%

Male students

Totally: 6%

Partially: 45%

Not at all: 46%

Didn’t answer: 3%

Female students

Totally: 3%

Partially: 44%

Not at all: 51%

Didn’t answer: 2%

A woman is wearing sexy or revealing clothes.

All students

Totally: 2%

Partially: 17%

Not at all: 79%

Didn’t answer: 2%

Male students

Totally: 3%

Partially: 23%

Not at all: 72%

Didn’t answer: 2%

Female students

Totally: 1%

Partially: 13%

Not at all: 84%

Didn’t answer: 2%

It is known that the woman has had many sexual partners.

All students

Totally: 2%

Partially: 11%

Not at all: 84%

Didn’t answer: 2%

Male students

Totally: 4%

Partially: 14%

Not at all: 79%

Didn’t answer: 2%

Female students

Totally: 1%

Partially: 9%

Not at all: 88%

Didn’t answer: 2%

The woman is alone and walking in a dangerous or deserted area.

All students

Totally: 5%

Partially: 26%

Not at all: 67%

Didn’t answer: 2%

Male students

Totally: 6%

Partially: 23%

Not at all: 69%

Didn’t answer: 2%

Female students

Totally: 3%

Partially: 28%

Not at all: 66%

Didn’t answer: 2%

Categories
Health News

New cancer institute chair calls for commercialisation of academia

• Former Pizza Express chairman joins University of London

• Argues academia should be profit-driven

A self-styled “unrepentant capitalist” has taken up his post as chair of the University of London’s Institute of Cancer Research and called for universities to further embrace commercialisation.

Luke Johnson, an entrepreneur with a reported net worth of £150m, told Times Higher Education magazine that universities in the UK were increasingly embracing entrepreneurship and commercialisation, but could still do more. He argued that exploiting the economic benefits of research would help institutions “wean themselves off ” taxpayer funding.

Johnson, who currently runs a private equity firm, added that it was“notentirelyabadthing”that in universities “there are going to be some efficiencies made and more emphasis on productivity and returns.”

Questioning whether the thrill of discovery is incentive enough for academics, Johnson said: “Universities have got to be a bit more willing to let some of their researchers get rich because otherwise, the risk is that they will break away.”

He added that “at the end of the day you can’t deny the profit motive among individuals.”

A spokesperson from the University and College Union responded to the comments by saying the reduction in public spending on teaching and research meant they expected some universities “will be wooed by, or even actively pursue, big business”. However, they warned that strong public funding was the only way to “guarantee real innovation that benefits society and of course the economy rather than the often short- term interests and fads and fashions of big business.”

Michael Chessum, president of the University of London Union, said: “Johnson’s argument is basically that wealth should be centralised in education towards whoever’s output is most marketable, not allocated on the basis of making education accessible or making teaching better. This is precisely the logic that is ruining the university sector.”

“Education is a social good: it should be run in the interests of everyone in society – and the market does not reflect social reality.”

The Institute of Cancer Research said Johnson, who studied physiology at Oxford, would “direct his trademark dynamism and business acumen” to the role.

Categories
College and Careers News

UCL Provost’s leaving party costs nearly £18k

Moustache-shaped cookies, an ABBA tribute band, and t-shirts with a ‘70s look-alike of the guest of honour printed on them – Professor Sir Malcolm Grant’s leaving do have it all, and cost a total of £17,898.

Just over £2,000 was spent on 880 bottles of sparkling wine for the party on 19th June, which celebrated Grant’s ten years as University College London’s President and Provost. Pictures suggest the bottles far outnumbered the guests.

Two hundred cookies in the shape of Grant’s famous facial hair were ordered for the event, costing UCL £260; the evening’s overall cookie budget totalled £563. £18.40 was spent on three buckets just to hold them all.

Björn Again, an ABBA tribute act, entertained the guests gathered in the University’s Main Quad for a fee of £8,225. A private donor, presumably a fan of Swedish pop, contributed £3,500 to this cost.

The band were not alone in providing the evening’s soundtrack. £950 was also spent on a DJ, two opera singers and an accompanying pianist.

In addition, twenty staff and student helpers at the party wore t-shirts printed with a moustached face resembling Grant in his younger days, at a cost of £240. £780 was spent to hire a so- called ‘Megabooth’ – a flower- power-themed Volkswagen Beetle adapted into a photo booth – where guests could pose for photos to remember the occasion.

Hannah Webb, External Affairs and Campaigns Officer of UCL’s student union, strongly criticised the amount spent on the event. She said: “That’s a ludicrous amount to spend on a party, especially when the cleaners are still not being paid a living wage.” She added: “Anyway, I hate ABBA.”

A UCL spokesperson claimed “several hundred people attended the event.” But UCL declined to comment on the cost of the party, and refused to give London Student any further information on the event.

In his weekly Provost’s Diary, Grant said the send-off, which was “all a complete surprise,” had left him “with a bit of a lump in the throat”.

Categories
News Politics

36 arrests at ‘Cops Off Campus’ protest

• London Student editor among those held

• Police kettled students and “were brutal”

• UoL granted an injunction banning onsite protest until June 2014

Thirty-four students, including protesters and two journalists, were today kettled and arrested during a demonstration against police presence on university campuses. It followed last night’s violent eviction of students occupying the University of London, which saw seven arrests and accusations of police throwing punches.

At 5.20pm police began arresting two groups of people who had been kettled in by Euston Square tube station for an hour “to prevent a further breach of the peace” and on suspicion of affray. The students, including Oscar Webb, who is this paper’s editor and was photographing the protest, were handcuffed and sent to police stations across south London to be taken into custody.

Two people were also arrested on suspicion of assaulting a police officer.

One man who was handcuffed and driven away in a police van had a crutch. An eyewitness told London Student: “The man was walking near the police when they pushed him, and as he fell backwards the police kicked away his crutch before jumping on him”. A second eyewitness made the same claim, but London Student was unable to verify whether it was true.

After police stepped away from where the man was handcuffed, blood could be seen on the pavement.

Those arrested were some of the two hundred protesters who took part in a ‘Cops Off Campus’ rally that began at 3pm outside the University of London Union (ULU) building on Malet St. Some protesters, members of the ‘book bloc’, carried homemade shields, while others had red smoke bombs.

Just after 3.30pm, when the protesters had made their way to the Russell Square entrance of the Senate House car park, eleven police riot vans carrying some eighty officers arrived at the scene. UoL denied calling them in.

There were scuffles as demonstrators chanted: “Cops off campus!” and “Scum! Scum!” at the police. A video published by the Guardian appears to show police trying to hit demonstrators with batons through the locked gate to the Senate House car park. Two protesters moved a bench into the middle of the street, blocking police vans.

Officers got into formation and drove the protesters towards the gates of the School of Oriental and African Studies. There, protesters formed a line using their homemade shields and wheelie bins. They then withdrew after it began raining heavily and regrouped outside the ULU building just before 4pm.

A small group of police then arrived at ULU, and were briefly surrounded by the protesters. Reinforcements showed up almost immediately, forcing demonstrators into Gordon Square and the surrounding streets. A police helicopter was circling above.

Some protesters then moved onto Euston Road. Large numbers of police and demonstrators ended up walking in the middle of the street, halting traffic.

At around 4.20pm the protesters were on Gower Street, next to Euston Square tube station. Police contained one group by the University College Hospital and another by the station.

While doing this, one officer told London Student he “hated waiting around” and “enjoyed the disorder side of things”. Another explained the police were there because of “stupid students being idiots”.

Those kettled remained there for an hour until they began to be arrested one by one and put in police vans.

One protester said the police had been “heavy-handed” and were “the cause of the trouble”.

Michael Chessum, president of ULU, said today the police “were brutal”.

He told London Student: “Today there was an unprecedented level of police violence on campus. It was a transparent attempt to assault, intimidate and deflate protest, and it will not work.” He added: “We will only come back stronger.”

Chessum accuses university managers “of colluding throughout with the police” and says they are a “disgrace”.

On Twitter, he called for the resignation of UoL’s senior management team if they did not “condemn the behaviour of the police today and yesterday”.

Yesterday evening saw thirty students occupying the office of UoL’s vice-chancellor and Senate House’s senior management corridor violently evicted by university security. Some fifty police were at hand “to prevent a breach of the peace” and assisted in driving demonstrators off-campus.

One video clip appears to show an officer punching a demonstrator in the face. Other footage appears to show two officers slam a woman to the ground. In total seven people were arrested, police confirmed.

ULU officers said demonstrators “were assaulted by both police and security: thrown to the ground, kicked and punched, and dragged to the ground by their hair.”

The occupiers had said they would not leave until a list of ten demands was met.

Chris Cobb, UoL’s chief operating officer, said the occupation “was a disgraceful and aggressive act, which placed the safety of our staff at risk.”

The university took out a High Court injunction yesterday that bans “occupational protests” on its site until June 2014. Anyone who disobeys the order “may be found guilty of Contempt of Court”.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said they had “not received any complaints with regards to police action”.

Asked whether UoL condemns the police’s behaviour over the two days and the arrest of journalists, a university spokesperson said: “No.”

They explained: “We are not going to condemn something that is a police decision.”

A repeat of today’s demonstration has been called for tomorrow, and a ‘Cops Off Campus’ national day of action has been planned for next Wednesday at ULU.

Additional reporting and editing by James Burley.

Categories
College and Careers News

Welcome to ‘The Kriss Akabusi Pleasure Lounge’

The Second Floor bar at UCL Union is set to be renamed The Kriss Akabusi Pleasure Lounge.

Kriss Akabusi is a former World, European and Commonwealth Championships sprinter.

UCL Students have been voting on a new name for the bar on the Union website with other entries including The 2econd Floor Bar and The UC Sports Bar.

Yet London Student understands that going into the home straight, The Kriss Akabusi Pleasure Lounge looks set to take first place on the podium.

Students are delighted that the union looks set to honour the sprinter, one telling London Student: “He was fast, very fast, this is certainly deserved.”

Akabusi was unaware of this potential honour from UCL until contacted by London Student, and did not give his famous seal of approval “AWOOGA!” to the proposal, instead of appearing indifferent to the outcome of the vote.

And students hoping to catch a glimpse of their childhood idol will be disappointed to hear that he would not be able to attend the opening of the bar, citing “too much work with two charities and a motivational speaking company”.

London Student understands Akabusi will not object to the bar being named in his honour.

While Akabusi first made his name on the running track, following his retirement from the sport he presented TV programmes Record Breakers and The Big Breakfast, his enthusiasm making co-presenters Cheryl Baker and Kelly Brook look like televisual also-rans.

Despite disappearing from the public eye, Akabusi continues to hand out inspiration left, right and centre through his Motivational Speakers Company.

One awestruck BUPA executive told London Student of the effects of one of his talks: “Kriss was superb. The amount of energy and motivation he left them with was worth every penny. Some of the sales team wanted to get straight onto the phones as they felt so inspired.”

In 1992 Akabusi was awarded the MBE and received an honorary degree from Southampton University.

The competition was organised and run by UCL Communications and Services Officer Charlie Clinton, who told London Student that he, “does not regret running the vote” and that the result will be respected.

Voting closed on November 14th, with the result expected, after votes have been verified, on December 5th.

Categories
College and Careers News

Tanaka Business School No More

Imperial College has rebranded its business school just eight years after it was first named.

The Tanaka Business School took its name from Dr Gary Tanaka, who completed his PhD at the College, following his £27m donation towards its new building in 2000. Last month it became the Imperial College Business School.

Sir Roy Anderson, Imperial’s Rector said: “Imperial College is known globally for carrying out research that improves quality of life worldwide. The Business School’s activities play a central role in this mission. By putting the College’s name into the Business School’s title we are making clear its position as an integral part of the College.”

A college spokesman stated that the rebrand, involved “no significant cost associations other than standard marketing costs”.

The reversal has sparked speculation that Imperial may be trying to disassociate itself from Dr Tanaka, who was charged with fraud in 2005.

Tanaka and his business partner Alberto Vilar were arrested in June 2005 under several allegations of fraud concerning their company Amerindo Investment Advisors Inc. Although Tanaka was accused of having spent investors’ money on racehorses, there was no suggestion that donations to Imperial were misappropriated. Charges were dropped in 2007.

A spokesman for Imperial said there was no link between the charges and the decision.

Dr Tanaka said, ‘the growth and development of the Business School under the helm of Professor David Begg and former Rector Sir Richard Sykes have been a source of great pride since my association with it began. This latest move is a step towards enabling it to reach its maximum world-wide potential.”

Academics have met the decision with enthusiasm. Dr David McCarthy, Senior Lecturer in Finance, said, “it’s a great idea. It’s going to be great for the school. I think it’s a great thing”.

The building, designed by Foster and Partners, will continue to be known as The Tanaka Building.

Categories
News

50 years on: David Irving, Apartheid and ULU

Today’s politically active students today may spend their time occupying lecture theatres over Israel’s actions in Gaza, but 50 years ago the hottest issue was South Africa’s apartheid system.

The University of London Union determined to do something about it. Its annual carnival would be used to raise funds to bring Black South African students to attend universities in the British capital.

But the man they took on to edit the carnival’s magazine, a major part of the fundraising drive, had other ideas. An article he intended to include in the publication unequivocally stated: “apartheid is a good thing.”

David Irving, has since become rather more famous for his right-wing views than he was back then.

Irving was a student at Imperial college (although he never graduated) and came to the attention of then ULU Vice-President David Jacques through his work on the Imperial College publication ‘Phoenix’. Mr Jacques says he knew of Irving as a capable pair of hands in putting a magazine together.

“He clearly had great expertise as an Editor and writer and was Editor of the Imperial College newsletter. So I asked him to edit our newsletter for the Carnival. But I told him I knew of his neo-fascist views and I wanted them out of it.”

Having been taken on to edit ‘Carnival Times’, Irving took to the task with gusto. The one shilling and sixpence magazine (which guaranteed free entry to the carnival fete) was full of witty snippets from other UL publications, student cartoons, and details of the University’s plans for expansion.

But even at the beginning, tensions were apparent between Irving and the rest of the carnival team. Correspondence between David Jacques and Irving reveals arguments over whether a piece about Imperial’s internal politics should be included.

“Firstly,” wrote Mr Jacques, “whilst appreciating that you are the Editor and that your dismissal from the Editorship of Phoenix may not have been completely justified, I do think it would be very unwise to publish again articles and quotations which have already roused the wrath and indignation of the powers that be.

“They will serve little or no purpose as the vast majority of the readers of Carnival will have no idea who the Rector is, and as you yourself said, the object of Carnival is to entertain the student.”

Suspicious that Irving might try to sneak something even more controversial through, Mr Jacques told Irving that he wanted to see everything before it was printed.

But on the evening it was supposed to be put together, he received a panicked phone call from the editor of Sennet (London Student’s predecessor) to say that the printer had found an insert in the magazine with articles entitled ‘Apartheid – the facts’ and ‘Battle for Europe’.

“I had a late call from Doug Smith, and he said ‘I think he’s done the dirty on you and had this insert printed which has already been put in,” recalls Mr Jacques.

The apartheid article argued, “seldom has there ever been a concept so confused, a cause so lost, as that of Racial Integration.”

It claimed that apartheid as then practised in South Africa had not gone far enough: “If… apartheid is the total separation of the black and coloured populations, with each people being given separate territories and separate states within the same Continent and in which each people is free to develop its political, social and cultural life to the full without interference from outside then it is a distinct advance on past conditions.”

Stereotyping black South Africans as inherently violent, it suggested expanding apartheid to the whole African continent, so that “the white man lives in the temperate uplands, which are suited to him, and the blacks live in the tropical coastlands and the West of Africa, where they can also thrive.”

A photograph of a fight at a meeting in Notting Hill was captioned “Can white and coloured folk live peacefully together? Yes, say the multi-racialists. And yet this photograph, taken within the last two months in London, England, would appear to show the opposite. Not only are the coloured folk fighting the white, but they are causing whites to fight each other too. This need never has happened.”

Irving’s editorial on Europe, however, is the most revealing piece. He wrote: “Great Britain has often been in the wrong. Somehow we found ourselves lined up with the Bolsheviks in a fight against the first great unifying force Europe had known in six hundred years, and we barely scraped a victory, a Pyrrhic victory.”

A section titled ‘Herr Hitler’ glorified the Nazi leader’s role in the Second World War. The whole piece was unashamedly anti-Semitic: “The formation of a European Union is interpreted at building a group of superior peoples, and the Jews have always viewed with suspicion the emergence of any ‘master-race’ (other than their own, of course).”

When he became aware of the situation, Mr Jacques went straight to the printers.

“I made sure everything he had written was shredded. But on the bus back he said, ‘Well, you fell for that, more fool you. I’ve another 500 copies already printed.’”

The incident came to the attention of the national press. Speaking to the Daily Mail later that year (although he later denied the comments) Irving said: “You can call me a mild fascist if you like,” and said he had visited a former home of Hitler’s in Germany, which he regarded “as a shrine”.

Private Eye covered the scandal in 1969 as background to a piece on Irving’s latest misdemeanours. They wrote: “The [Carnival] committee were so shocked by the supplement’s contents that they engaged a number of volunteers to rip out 30,000 of the supplements from the magazine, almost all of which were then burnt.”

The incident wasn’t the last the University of London would see of Irving. He re-enrolled as a student at University College London and in February 1961 took part in a debate on immigration, seconding Sir Oswald Mosley. Private Eye magazine reported that “Mr Irving closed his speech by greeting the audience with a Heil Hitler salute.”

Irving has since been convicted of holocaust denial in Austria, for which he served 400 days in prison.

Mr Jacques says he hasn’t been surprised to see Irving in the news since then.  

He’s even kept a copy of the Guardian of April 12 2000, which, reporting on Irving’s defeat in a libel case against author Deborah Lipstadt who had called him a Holocaust denier, bears the headline: “Irving: consigned to history as a racist liar.”

“He had no scruples,” says Mr Jacques. “He was without principles, and that’s been the story ever since.”

Categories
News

Queen Mary to join Russell Group

Queen Mary University London will become a member of the Russell Group of universities in August 2012 after accepting an invitation to join.

The Universities of Durham, York and Exeter have also been extended invitations, which they have accepted, taking the Group’s total number of members to 24.

Principal of Queen Mary, Professor Simon Gaskell said: “We are delighted to accept the invitation to join the Group. The Russell Group includes the top research-intensive universities in the UK.

“The invitation to join the Russell Group is a result of our achievements over the last decade, notably the considerable improvement in research strength across a broad academic range, acknowledged in the 2008 RAE and the expansion in student numbers with steadily increasing entry standards. These achievements have been made alongside our firm commitment to our local community and to widening participation.”

Queen Mary to join Russell Group

Prof Michael Arthur, Chair of the Russell Group, said:  “Durham, Exeter, Queen Mary and York have demonstrated that – like all other Russell Group members – they excel in research, innovation and education and have a critical mass of research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.”

The move is likely to pave the way for Queen Mary Students’ Union to join the Aldwych Group, which is an association of students’ unions of Russell Group universities.

Categories
College and Careers News Politics

LSE students occupy lecture theatre for Gaza

A group of about forty LSE students are occupying the university’s Old Lecture Theatre, demanding action from the school over the conflict in Gaza.

They are demanding that LSE should release a statement condemning the Israeli attack on Gaza and demanding a ceasefire and that the college get rid of its investments in BAE Systems, which anti-arms trade campaigners say provides weapons to the Israeli military.

They also want five fully paid scholarships to be created for Palestinian students and a fundraising day in aid of charity Medical Aid for Palestinians.

Their final demands are that any computers or books due to be got rid of at the end of Lent and Summer terms should be donated to the University and to schools that have been bombed in Gaza, and that the student activists themselves should not suffer any reprisals for taking part.

The action follows a motion passed 219-154 at a Union General Meeting this afternoon condemning Israel’s military campaign in Gaza.

An LSE spokesperson said: “A small group of students are currently staging a limited occupation of the Old Theatre at the London School of Economics and Political Science today (Thursday 15th January). The students have presented six demands to the School, all of which relate to the conflict in Gaza. The School is considering the demands. Lectures are continuing as normal.”