A year on from the occupations and student activism against the arms trade has not abated. With a day of action followed by a gathering in York students are making themselves heard.
On 24 February students across the UK took action against their university’s links with the arms trade. Actions included a vigil in memory of those who have lost their lives to the arms trade, a public debate and the signing of a petition calling for an ethical careers fair. Students targeted their universities investments in the arms trade, the complicity of their careers departments in arms company recruitment and the sponsorship deals that arms companies offer universities. Details from some of the actions are below:
Students from Disarm York held a vigil outside their Vice Chancellor’s house in memory of the victims of the arms trade and posted over 200 signed post cards through his door. The students were campaigning against the investments the University pension fund holds in BAE and were calling for them to switch toward an ethical pension scheme.
Students at Brunel University launched a mini-campaign targeting their careers service, calling for:
i) a change in the way companies are charged for stalls at careers fairs.
This is intended to make it more egalitarian and to give smaller businesses a chance of getting the same amount of space and publicity
ii) a separate not-for-profit careers fair.
Weapons out of Warwick staged a protest against the Warwick Economics Summit which was sponsored by Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland. This formed part of an ongoing campaign to get the Union to commit to ethical sponsorship and to stop oil and arms companies from sponsoring societies and events.
Students organised a talk with writer and activist Symon Hill. The talk was followed by a debate about BAE’s involvements with the University. The event took place in the Management School which was actually funded by BAE who continue to sponsor management courses.