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.
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.
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.
A new academic year has just begun and student campaigners at University College London (UCL) are starting to kick a fuss to Disarm UCL again. Despite the decision of the UCL Council to move towards ethical investment UCL still currently holds £884 000 worth of shares in arms trader Cobham plc.
We think this is a disgrace. How serious is UCL about ethical investment when it keeps clinging on to the arms shares?
The first thing we did was to get a stall at Freshers Fayre last week to tell everyone new to UCL about the arms investments. Turns out the majority of the Freshers and new graduate students we talked to had already heard about UCLs arms investments and the Disarm UCL campaign. We took this as an indication that our campaign is going well Continue reading “Get your uni to come clean !”
The reason why I have not been blogging for ages is simple:
I haven’t been around. Here are a few lines on the difficulties of being an anti-arms trade campaigner in exile:
Three months ago I left London for a research trip to Ukraine and that’s when things really started to get going:
Two days before my departure University College London, my university we had so desperately tried to persuade to ditch its shares in arms companies, quite unexpectedly announced that it wants to develop an ethical investment policy.
It has attracted quite a few comments already and was nicely timed to go live just before the UCL Council tomorrow looks at the issue of an ethical investment policy. Hopefully the UCL Council will listen to the voices of over 1200 UCL students, staff and alumni and ditch the arms shares.
UCL Provost Malcolm Grant was yesterday presented with a petition signed by over 1,000 UCL staff and students calling on him to sell UCL’s shares in an arms
company. The provost also received a hand-signed copy of a book by UCL alumnus Richard Wilson, in which he describes how his sister died as a result of the arms trade.