An update on Abercromby Square protest

A message to all University of Liverpool staff and students, from Professor Richard Black, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor:

The University has had an encampment of students protesting the Israel/Gaza conflict on Abercromby Square for nine weeks. During this time I, together with other colleagues, have entered in good faith into dialogue with protestors to address their concerns about the University’s position in relation to the conflict – from the support we plan to offer Palestinian scholars to our investments and research partnerships. Our last statement set out the commitments we have made and the areas where we are not able to find agreement and make progress.

We have always been clear in our firm belief in the importance of freedom of speech and ability to protest, with the line drawn at activity which is either unlawful or not respectful to members of our community. Protest activity has escalated over recent weeks, causing distress to members of our community. As our talks with protestors have come to an end, with no real possibility for further agreement, we are concerned about the continued impact of direct action on other members of our University community.

As staff and students will know, we will shortly be entering graduation week, which is a really important, positive time in the University calendar, where we celebrate the fantastic achievements of our students. We are determined to do all we can to ensure that our students and their families have the celebrations they deserve. With this in mind, we have taken the decision to formally ask the Abercromby Square protestors to vacate the Square.

The request, submitted to the protestors today, can be found below in full.

Notice to encampment in Abercromby Square

While the University recognises the right of students to protest peacefully, the University and its wider community must not be subjected to unreasonable or unlawful disruption and must be allowed to conduct its normal business.

As you are aware, the encampment is situated on private land owned by the University. The University of Liverpool, whilst having permitted the encampment to date, does not give permission for the Square to be used in this way. I must therefore ask you to vacate the Square by 6.00pm on Monday 8 July at the latest, so that it can be restored and returned to use by all members of the University community.

Failure to vacate may result in the University taking legal proceedings to remove you and your tents from the Square.  Any tents that appear to be abandoned will also be removed.