University commits to disclose ties to weapons companies amid student protest

Palestine protests Uni Melbourne

The University of Melbourne (UoM) has agreed to disclose ties to weapons manufacturers following a successful student encampment of a building on its Parkville campus.

On May 15, UoM students joined thousands of individuals across the country rallying in remembrance of Nakba Day, or the “Palestinian Catastrophe”, with students condemning the university’s ongoing ties to some of the world’s largest weapons manufacturers, demanding “disclosure and divestment”.

Students from the Unimelb for Palestine (UM4P) collective organised the encampment as part of the protest, vowing not to leave until demands were met, despite receiving confirmation from administration “fully and explicitly” that they would not cut ties.

Sitting in the university’s Arts West building, students have renamed the space Mahmoud’s Hall in honour of 25-year-old prospective UoM student, Mahmoud Alnaouq.

Expected to pursue his Master’s degree in international relations with UoM, which was his preferred study destination, Mr Alnaouq was killed alongside 17 of his family members in an Israeli air strike on October 20, 2023.

Following a week-long sit-in, the collective announced on May 22 that negotiations with management were successful in achieving disclosure of the university’s relationships to weapons companies such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and BAE Systems.

“We have made the decision to end the encampment at South Lawn and the sit-in at Mahmoud’s Hall,” protest organiser Dana Alshaer said.

“Tomorrow morning, we will pack up after the university’s public commitment to disclosure.”


In a statement released from UoM on May 24, Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell stated he was “pleased” to have reached a resolution to the encampment.


“In an effort to provide greater transparency and remove ambiguity about research being conducted at the university, the university is committing to additional disclosure of its research grant arrangements as they relate to research projects, the parties who support that research and the quantum,” the statement read.

Ms Alshaer says that the university is expected to disclose ties within a month’s time, which will be overseen by an independent, third party.

However, the collective emphasises that disclosure is “a major win, but it’s also a first step”, and students would continue to campaign for full divestment.



Despite reports that students involved in the encampment were protesting peacefully and students and staff were not being prohibited from entering or leaving the building, the university issued a statement on May 21 ordering those involved to “remove property and leave University premises”.

The university claimed that an inspection conducted on May 17 found alleged damage to the building, including to safety measures such as emergency exits, fire panel access, and firefighting equipment, threatening police action and expulsion as a result.

Despite the university’s claims, UM4P shared results of an independent OHS inspection conducted on May 20 by a qualified health and safety representative from the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), which found the university’s statement to be “groundless”.

“The NTEU inspection found no obstruction to required emergency exits, no obstruction to fire panel access; in addition, the firefighting equipment appeared to be in good working order,” the NTEU OHS report said.

“The inspection did find that some of the ordinary entrances and exits were non-operational, however this is due to a UoM decision to close ordinary access to the building via swipe card access.”

The university claimed that alternative arrangements had been made for 601 classes since the sit-in began, affecting more than 16,800 students.

However, UM4P emphasises that their eight-month-long campaign exists for “the university’s disclosure and divestment from unethical companies that profit off genocide,” and that any disruption to learning has been caused by the university.

“The students of the sit-in at Mahmoud’s Hall are not responsible, nor do they have the power to cancel classes – it is the university that has decided to self-impose these sanctions.” •

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