If you’ve been on campus recently, you may have seen the main quad occupied by students who’ve formed an encampment. This encampment looks set to continue for an unspecified time.  

We support our members' legal right to peaceful protest. It’s vital that we uphold students’ rights to freedom of expression and assembly, even when this proves challenging or uncomfortable for those who hold opposing views.  

During this incredibly challenging time the safety and wellbeing of our community remains our top priority, this includes both the welfare of students attending campus to use the libraries or sit exams and the welfare of those taking part in the encampment.  

So far, UCL’s approach to the encampment feels appropriate and measured. UCL have said they “will take all reasonable steps to ensure that protests within the law by members of our community can take place safely, even when this may cause distress or concern for others who share different backgrounds, beliefs or views.”  

We want to be clear, however, that speech or protest which becomes hateful, unlawful, harassing in nature, or impedes upon the rights of others cannot be tolerated and will be challenged through the appropriate procedures. We have zero tolerance for antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, bullying, or harassment of any kind.  

Impact on quad events  

Since the encampment started, we’ve been working closely with colleagues across UCL to consider how to run the events that were planned to take place in the quad. The difficult reality is that some of the events planned for the quad over the coming weeks are set to involve large-scale structures, stages, and food and drink areas. Because of the scale of events, set up was due on Wednesday 15 May, but could not go ahead.   

It would not be possible to safely set up these structures around the encampment location, essentially meaning that many of the events due to take place in the quad now cannot go ahead. This includes the three Summer Ball events due to take place at the end of May/early June. Ticket holders to these events have been notified.  

Small scale events in the quad are still taking place as usual, and the quad remains open for all students.  

UCL have put together an FAQ giving lots of background to the approach to the encampment. Read the FAQ here.

Looking ahead  

Earlier this year, our Sabbatical Officer team added their voices to the call for a ceasefire in the conflict, the return of all hostages, and to start on the urgently needed path to a long-term negotiated peace. That position remains today.  

It has been an extremely difficult year for so many in our community. We know that for most, the next few weeks are critical to your academic outcome. If you are affected by the events on campus or the ongoing conflict, support is available to you. Please reach out and use this support, the details are below. 

Support available to all students:

  • UCL’s campus has security coverage 24/7. Security support can be accessed by calling +44 (0)20 7679 2222 or extension 222 from a UCL landline.
  • You can also contact security directly through the SafeZone app. Download the SafeZone app.The app is available to all UCL students and makes it easier for you to contact UCL Security directly from your phone.  Remember: if you are in an emergency, call 999 and ask for the appropriate service.
  • You can contact the Support Team for Students affected by War, Conflict and Disaster. The team provides emotional and practical support to students affected by events in their home countries by offering sessions of Psychological First Aid (PFA).
  • If you need to, you should access UCL's 24/7 Student Support Line for support with your mental health and wellbeing, and additional support services around faith and belief at UCL, including quiet spaces for prayer and advice from the Interfaith team.
  • We know that it may be difficult to focus on your studies at this time. If you are struggling with academic work, you should first talk to your tutor, who will be able to offer support and advice. Departments can also provide Extenuating Circumstances or Academic Adjustments to support any student who experiences sudden, unexpected difficulties that may affect their performance at assessment. 
  • If you face financial difficulty due to the conflict, we encourage you to speak with one of our Student Funding Advisers. Students who are in unexpected financial need with their living costs can also apply to the Financial Assistance Fund. The Union also offers additional Financial Support for students who, for whatever reason, cannot access UCL support but are in financial need.
  • The Students' Union Advice Service offers independent and impartial advice on a range of matters . We are separate from the university and are available to all UCL students, so if you need any advice on submitting an extenuating circumstances claim or applying for financial support, one of experienced Advisors could help.
  • Reports of hate crimes are taken extremely seriously - report instances of hate crime on campus through the Report + Support tool page. You can do this anonymously.