Statement from the University Council Regarding Recent Events

Based on the responsibilities which the university council is bound to by university regulations and what the national interest entails upon us in order to preserve Birzeit University as a national institution and a haven for freedom of thought and expression, the university administration expresses its extreme concern regarding the recent events following the visit of French PM Lionel Jospin to Birzeit University. The university administration affirms the following:

1. The University does not agree with the declarations of French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and considers his statements contradictory to international laws which allow people to fight for their freedom and self-determination.

2. The university will always be on the side of freedom of expression and strongly denounces the use of violence and the threat of the use of violence and will defend its right and the right of all individuals on the university campus to express their opinions within the lawful and academic freedom which Birzeit has always been proud of as its culture.

3. The University will take the appropriate measures against those individuals who violated the regulations of the University and acted against the freedom of expression in a violent way. The university will announce these measures after it has concluded all of its legal proceedings according to University regulations.

4. The university campus is installed with a sanctity which is protected by the Palestinian Law of Higher Education and university regulations which enforce this. The University will carry out fully its responsibility to keep the campus of the university as a sacred ground.

5. The university calls for the release of the students who were arrested in relation to this incident in order to allow the university to continue to carry on with its responsibility for these students. The university expects that the respect for the rule of law and legal process according to the civil law will be enforced. The university calls on all sides to remain patient and to work democratically on all levels and respect the institutions which have been given, by law, independence in order to allow it to carry on its academic, national and educational duty.