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Students call on the University of Auckland to support Palestine

15 May, 2024

Interviews by Caeden Tipler and Oto Sequiera, adapted by Ashley-Rose Redstone

Co-President of University of Auckland’s Students for Justice in Palestine; the group that organised a pro-Palestine protest at the University, Layan Khalil, says the institution must take a stand against Israel for its ongoing war on Gaza.

On 1 May, over 150 people, mostly students, faculty, and alumni from the University of Auckland and AUT, rallied at the University of Auckland’s city campus in solidarity with students holding encampments at tertiary institutions overseas in support of Gaza.

Co-President of University of Auckland Students for Justice in Palestine (UoA SJP); the group that organised the rally, Layan Khalil, told 95bFM’s The Wire the protest was originally planned as an encampment, but they decided to switch to a rally over safety concerns.

A day prior to the originally planned encampment, University of Auckland Vice Chancellor, Dawn Freshwater, sent an email to UoA SJP, warning an encampment would go against the University’s code of conduct and threatening a police presence.

“We had to take the stand to not risk arrest for our members and our whānau,” says Khalil.

“There is very high energy for an encampment and the University's email instilled fear within our communities.”

Many university encampments overseas have seen an aggressive police response, with over 2600 students being arrested.

Khalil says they want their university to be more transparent about its investments and divest any funds it may have in companies linked to Israel.

“The University must formally take a complicit stand against this genocide.”

Listen to the full interview with Layan Khalil

Listen to the full interview from the rally

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ on Air