Ban BAE is a campaign involving disrupting and stopping arms company recruitment of higher education students. Universities are a very important site for arms companies – they visit university campuses to recruit students and spread the lie that they are part of a morally neutral, acceptable business. Companies like BAE Systems, Thales, Rolls Royce and Cobham have stalls at careers fairs, give presentations and hold individual meetings with students. Funnily enough you won’t hear death or repression mentioned once.
Arms companies need graduates in order to survive and to do their work, so at recruitment fairs we can really hit them where it hurts. By showing them up for what they truly are (corrupt, unethical and oppressive) we can turn students and staff against arms dealers. There is already a shortage of students wanting to work for arms companies: by taking action against arms companies on campus you will be directly affecting their ability to thrive as weapons producers.
The support given to the arms trade through university participation in arms trade recruitment is therefore a crucial link to break.
Check our recruitment map to see who’s coming to your campus
Here’s a map of careers fairs over the UK where arms dealers are expected to attend but it’s not conclusive! If you know of a careers fair that we’ve missed out, let us know so we can put it up on the map. Get in touch with your careers service to see who’s coming to your campus and when. Look particularly at science and engineering fairs, though arms companies recruit from all disciplines.
View Arms Companies at Careers Fairs in a larger map
They have a responsibility to fully inform students, not to blindly promote companies. Students should be given full information about the companies they may be considering working for and a full range of organisations from which to choose. Surely students would choose wind turbines over guns if presented with a real range of options?
The right to freedom of speech is not the right to be given a platform from which to promote yourself unchallenged. Importantly, the costs for companies to come to careers events mean that smaller companies are priced out. It is not freedom of speech if those who are the richest get the loudest voice.
To invite arms companies to careers fairs is to take a political position; the invitation both portrays them as legitimate companies and helps them to recruit more graduates for their devastating work. A number of university students will have had their lives directly impacted upon by the arms trade, and all students live in a more dangerous world because of it.
It’s understandable for students to be worried in the current climate. However, engineering skills are in demand and the renewables sector is much more vibrant than the arms sector.