Katherine O’Mahoney, Universities Network Volunteer writes:
Anti-arms trade campaigners will be shocked and disappointed to learn of the launch of University College London’s (UCL) new £17m Security Research Training Centre – or UCL SECReT. Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC), the multidisciplinary centre will recruit between 10 and 20 PhD students each year to research a range of subjects relating to crime and security. And, in its ambition to become one of the world’s leading centres of expertise for security and crime science, UCL SECReT has partnered with arms companies BAE Systems, Thales and Lockheed Martin.
On Wednesday 11th February, a group of students staged a die-in protest to highlight the University of Nottingham’s extensive links with arms companies. This protest was held as part of a national day of action against the arms trade, called by Campaign Against the Arms Trade Universities Network.
Barnaby Pace updates us on the current wave of anti-arms activism to sweep the nations universities: –
Since 12.30 yesterday a number of Warwick students have occupied our SO.21 lecture theatre. We are demanding firstly that the university help the victims of the Israel-Palestine conflict by sending textbooks and computer equipment, restoring the ability of students in the region to use their right to education. The university should inform students about the issues by funding a series of talks on the conflict. Importantly we feel that the university should end its complicity in the conflict by severing its ties to the arms trade. Our university promotes arms companies in an unquestioning positive light at careers events, does research for arms companies in our academic departments and has university finances invested in funds which do not preclude arms trade investments, and this is an unacceptable status quo. Continue reading “Return of Red Warwick”
On Thursday 15 January a group of Warwick University students, in opposition to the arms trade and in solidarity with Gaza, protested at a recruitment event run by BAE and Warwick University Careers Service.
Why BAE? Is it especially unethical? Just look at their record. BAE is the third largest arms manufacturer in the world. So much has come to light in the last few years with the discoveries, investigations and court cases surrounding the Al-Yamamah arms deal to Saudi Arabia, in which BAE systems was the primary supplier of weaponry. It is alleged that BAE paid over £1 billion in bribes to members of the Saudi regime.
But this case is not unique – BAE is currently being investigated over bribery allegations Arms companies are often not willing to disclose who their customers are (especially for arms components); this may be common practice among many businesses, citing “commercial confidentiality”. However, most businesses do not need to hide that they sold fighter jets to Robert Mugabe (as BAE and Rolls Royce have) or torture equipment for Guantanamo Bay (BAE subsidiary Hiatts). Nor are reputable business alleged to give a cool £1 million in bribes to the late, but not lamented, General Pinochet (BAE again). All good reasons for protesting and the inclusion of Israel in its (very colourful) list of customers made action particularly important at this time for us. Continue reading “Warwick’s unethical career services”
For just over two years now I have been campaigning together with other students at University College London (UCL) to get our university to ditch its shares in arms company Cobham and adopt an ethical investment policy.
And now…just before Christmas…victory has finally come. UCL has announced its ethical investment policy, which will come into force on 1 January 2009. It feels great ! Over the past two years many of us put a lot of effort into the campaign to Disarm UCL. It was a great campaign: I have made many wonderful friends, our photo stunts in UCLs main quad have become legendary and I feel I learned more from this campaign (media work, communication skills, lobbying and the ins and outs of ethical investment) than throughout my entire postgraduate degree at UCL.
Back in March a few anti-arms trade campaigners from UCL, Warwick and Nottingham met in London to discuss the “Unis against the arms trade National Action Day” held in February. It was really great and inspiring to hear what other students at other unis are up to. One of the things we all wanted was to try and arrange as many opportunities as possible to meet and swap experiences and ideas.
UK Students tell their universities it’s time to ditch their arms shares
On 27 February Students across Britain joined protests against their universities’ links with the arms trade. They called for an end to university arms investments. Students dressed as arms dealers roamed the campuses of University College London (UCL), Warwick, Manchester and other universities and tried to “sell” toy guns and missiles to their fellow students to raise awareness about the links between their universities and arms companies.
Student campaigners at UCL wearing black suits and sun glasses approached fellow students with the opening line “Excuse me, can I interest you in any missile components today ?” Many students, staff and prospective students, who had a look around UCL that day, stopped to sign a petition and to talk to campaigners about the continued arms investments. Continue reading “Can I interest you in any missile components today?”
Just to let you know that the spontaneous meeting some students activists had at the CAAT National Gathering back in November has now actually led to a National Day of Action on 27 February around lunchtime. Join us and campaign for ethical investment at your university.
Campaign Against Arms Trade and People and Planet will be helping coordinate a national day of action in protest against university shareholding in arms companies. The event was initiated by activists at University College London and Manchester University.
At the end of last term the Disarm UCL campaign put on a fake graduation ceremony to protest against UCL’s investment in arms shares. One student dressed as a military general handed out fake diplomas and toy guns to other students graduating in camouflage uniforms.
The action definitely turned a few heads including the one of the UCL Provost who happend to pass by. It was a fun action to put on and we got quite a bit of news coverage including the Times Higher, the Independent, the Evening Standard, the Guardian Comment is free website and the New Statesman website.