Israel Gaza conflict

Information and support for those affected by the Israel Gaza conflict.



A protest is continuing outside the Students’ Union building on the concourse. The protest, which began on 1 May, relates to the ongoing situation in Gaza. Similar protests are taking place at other universities across the country.

We are aware of the strength of feeling about what is happening in Gaza and the reaction to it. We recognise that many people in our University community are affected by what is happening and want to access information and support. 

The information below outlines the University’s approach to freedom of speech, our expectations around protests, how students and staff can report concerns and how to access support. It also includes information about some of the issues that have been raised about our role as a University of Sanctuary and our work with external partners.

Freedom of speech and academic freedom

Freedom of speech and academic freedom - and by extension freedom of association - are fundamental to the University of Sheffield’s research,  teaching and other academic activities, and sense of community. These enable our staff and students to test the truth of the ideas that shape society, to explain important social and natural phenomena, to challenge how the world around us is understood, and to deliver our charitable objects to advance education and research. 

We are committed to promoting and protecting freedom of speech within the law. We will continue to foster an environment that encourages the free exchange of ideas, including those with the capacity to cause discomfort. This means that–as part of their work, studies, and membership of a diverse community that promotes free speech within the law–staff and students at the University should expect from time to time to confront ideas that they may find challenging, and perhaps even shocking or disturbing. 

Please refer to our Code of Practice on how the University will promote freedom of speech and academic freedom across our research and education activities.

Further information on the University’s commitment to freedom of speech and academic freedom can be found on our website.

We believe our campus should be a place to discuss and explore conflicting views. Debates on divisive and sensitive topics should be respectful and we expect protesting students to be mindful of the experiences and positions of others, and consider the impact of their language and actions to ensure our University remains a safe and welcoming place for everyone. 

Freedom of speech is never an excuse for bullying, and the University will not tolerate any instances of harassment, discrimination, or any unlawful activity. 

Behavioural expectations and guidance for student protests

Our University is inclusive and welcoming, and everyone should feel safe on campus. The University expects and urges all members of our community to treat each other with respect, empathy, and understanding.

Please refer to our Student Code of Conduct for our agreed behavioural expectations. 

We recognise there are strong views within our community regarding what is happening in Israel and Gaza. We fully support freedom of speech within the law, and the right to protest, and promote an environment where a myriad of conflicting views can be shared and expressed respectfully and within the law.

We are proud to be a University which is a safe, welcoming and respectful place for our very diverse  community, and it’s important to remember that your words and actions can have a profound impact on others. We will not tolerate any form of discrimination, harassment or abuse, including incidents of racism, antisemitism, Islamophobia, or any other criminal activity. Everyone has the right to access their education and work freely without harassment or intimidation, and we will take action and, where there are concerns around legality, may report such incidents to the police. 

We must also stress the importance of students being able to take their assessments so that they can progress and graduate. Protest activity must not interfere with university activities and we will not tolerate any disruption to our students' education and their ability to sit their exams.

Please also remember that in the UK, Hamas is a proscribed organisation, which means it is a criminal offence to support them.

For advice on protests or demonstrations, please refer to the University’s guidance for student protests. The guidance outlines some dos and don’ts around student protests to help to ensure that student protests can be best supported to be delivered safely for all members of the University community and the general public, and reduce the likelihood of protesters breaching University regulations and becoming subject to disciplinary action.

Reporting routes

If you experience or witness any form of discrimination, you can report it through our dedicated Report and Support platform. This is available to both staff and students. You have the option to report anonymously or using your name. 

You can use the University’s free Safe Zone app, available to staff and students, to alert University Security Services via your mobile phone if you ever need emergency, first aid or non-urgent help while on campus or in our residences.  

If you have any security concerns on campus or in the residences, call 0114 222 4444 in emergencies or 0114 222 4085 in non-emergencies. You can also email in non-emergency situations.

Throughout the duration of  the protest, our University Security Services continue to monitor the situation and are working to ensure the safety of our students, staff and visitors, and to limit the impact on people and learning. 

Supporting our University community 

We know that many students and staff have been directly or indirectly affected by the events in Gaza and Israel. 

The University offers a range of wellbeing and emotional support and resources for our students and staff,  including:

Support for students

Please find below the main sources of support available to you as a student at the University. We encourage you to seek support from whichever service or services you feel are most appropriate. 

If you have any practical concerns or questions, you can contact our Student Welfare team by emailing

If the conflict is having an impact on your ability to engage with your studies, please reach out to your academic department who can advise and support you.

For welfare, wellbeing and mental health support, the following services are available to you:

*University login required

Support for staff

Please find below the main sources of support available to you as a member of staff at the University. 

For general advice and to talk through the support options available, please speak to your line manager.  You can also contact our HR teams* who are available to speak with you about any concerns you may have. 

You may also want to explore the wellbeing resources* on the Staff Hub. These include our new Alliance Psychological Services One Plus Service. A One Plus session will support you to consider an issue that you’re currently personally dealing with and the actions you could take to increase control and to work towards an effective solution. The intention is to enable access to support in one session and have a clear action plan thereafter.

In addition, The Belief, No Belief and Religious (BNBR) Life Centre is available to staff and provides a listening ear and pastoral support to all people whatever their identity, religion, belief or no belief. 

For colleagues with line management responsibilities, please offer support to colleagues who may be affected. As well as the wellbeing resources* on the Staff Hub, you might find it helpful to refer to the looking after the wellbeing of others section on our supporting staff in times of change page*, also on the Staff Hub. There is also some general advice on wellbeing support in response to conflict, crisis or natural disaster.

If you are not sure which service to access or to refer others to, please contact for advice and guidance.

*staff login required

Guidance for staff supporting students

If you are a member of staff who is supporting students with concerns associated with the conflict, you may find it helpful to talk through the support options listed in the University support for students section above. The Support Hub tool is also available to help you direct students to different services depending upon their specific needs.

In addition, it may be helpful to look at our how to Help web pages on the Staff Hub*, which are designed to support and empower you to make effective and informed decisions when interacting with students in distress.

*staff login required

University of Sanctuary

The University has a long history of welcoming people seeking sanctuary. We are, and always will be, a place that is open and welcoming to students and scholars from all over the world.

We are a University of Sanctuary - this means we are part of a national network of universities in the UK that are committed to helping students and academics who are fleeing war, persecution or other disasters in their home country. We have a range of scholarships, schemes and support available and we welcome those seeking sanctuary to join our Sheffield community.

We regularly review how best we can support people seeking sanctuary and work with partner organisations throughout Sheffield, the UK and all over the world. Some of the ways the University currently helps students and scholars who have been forcibly displaced include:

  • Sanctuary Scholarships - five fully-funded scholarships for students who have sought refuge in the UK - for example, students who have been displaced or affected by a conflict in their home country or have another reason for their forced migration to the UK. The scholarships are for 2024 entry, cover the cost of tuition and provide a £10,300 award to support living costs for each year of study
  • Gaza-Palestine Postgraduate Taught Scholarship 2024 - a scholarship for a taught postgraduate student from Gaza in 2024. This covers the cost of tuition, accommodation in a single occupant en-suite room in University halls of residence and a maintenance award of £5,000
  • Forced Migrant English Language Support Programme - a programme designed to help students develop their English language skills before they start a degree with a foundation year with our Department for Lifelong Learning. This includes a fully funded pre-sessional full time English language course and support with costs of study
  • International visitors scheme for academics - this enables academics affected by war or persecution to come to Sheffield for an extended period of time, such as six months or a year, to continue their research
  • Global Campus - a wide range of weekly events and activities to help students settle into life at the University and in the city of Sheffield, such as Global Cafe, a chance to meet university ambassadors and fellow Sheffield students, crafts and games, local history walks and regular drop-in sessions for advice and support on all aspects of student life
  • Computer accounts and library access - we work with Student Action for Refugees Sheffield (STAR) to provide computer accounts and University Library access for local refugees and asylum seekers so they can access the wireless internet network across our campus. Asylum seekers and refugees can also access the University’s library resources and online English language support materials for free
  • Free access to sport and physical activity facilities - people receiving support from ASSIST Sheffield get free access to University sports facilities
  • Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA) - the University supports CARA in its work in providing urgently-needed help to academics in immediate danger, those forced into exile, and the many who choose to work in their home countries despite serious risks.

Working in partnership with our Students’ Union

The University works closely with the Students’ Union to listen to and understand student views. This includes regularly meeting with Students’ Union Officers, elected representatives of the student body, to discuss and respond to student questions and concerns.

In addition, the University and Students’ Union collaborate on providing support to those who need it, including those who make a report.

You can read Sheffield Students’ Union's statement in relation to the crisis in Israel and Gaza.

Our work with external partners

The University ensures its research collaborations are appropriately conducted within the law and in line with our values. We have many partnerships with hundreds of companies, agencies, charities, campaigning organisations and academic institutions around the world. We uphold academic freedom, and empower staff and students to identify and initiate collaborations with partners across the globe that further research, innovation and international understanding. 

These partnerships can be on any subject within the law, and in collaboration with partners in any country that is not the subject of UK sanctions. Some concerns have been raised around the University’s partnerships with aerospace, engineering and manufacturing companies that work in or with the defence sector. The majority of our research with industrial partners in these areas focuses on improving manufacturing processes and materials that boost productivity and sustainability and support our regional and national economy.

We recognise that some of our research projects with partners could have a dual use for civilian and military purposes, and we undertake research related to defence and global security challenges. However, new and ongoing research partnerships undergo stringent due-diligence processes. Individual research projects are subject to scrutiny and oversight which assesses legal status, credit checks, links to sanctioned countries, corporate governance, legislative requirements and checks on key individuals. 

Government travel advice and University contacts for those in the regions affected

The GOV.UK foreign travel advice is being updated regularly for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Please follow the latest advice.

If you are a University of Sheffield student and you are currently in the region, please reach out to the University for support should you need to. Email:

If you are a member of staff and are currently in the region, please contact your line manager or head of department.