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Green Councillor demands University Dept Boycott

Jim | 12.11.2004 02:55 | Anti-militarism | Education | Oxford

Oxford's Green Party Councillor Matt Sellwood demands that the Oxford University Student Union boycotts the Said Business School over ethical factors regarding the contribution of arms dealer Wafiwq Said.

Oxford's Green Party Councillor Matt Sellwood demands that the Oxford University Student Union boycotts the Said Business School over ethical factors regarding the contribution of arms dealer Wafiwq Said.

In an OUSU Council meeting to be held today (Friday 12th November), Matt Sellwood will propose the following:

Council notes
1. That the Said Business School was mainly funded by a 20 million pound donation by Wafiq Said.
2. That Wafiq Said is an infamous arms dealer, and was facilitator for the Al-Yamamah arms deal to Saudi Arabia, in which torture equipment, offensive weapons and riot suppression gear was sold to Saudi Arabia by British arms companies.
3. That Wafiq Said was implicated, at least in part, in the arms scandal that lost Conservative Ministers their jobs.
4. That the building of the Said Business School was opposed in the 1990s for this reason, that a petition of 10,000 signatures was collected against the development, and that a massive protest camp sprung up to prevent the building of the SBS.
5. That OUSU supported the protesters, who included many students.

Council believes:
1. That the Said Business School is funded by ethically dubious methods, and that Wafiq Said's donation should never have been accepted.
2. That it is important for any student union to engage with the local community in an ethical and sustainable manner.
3. That the Said Business School is a prime example of the University ignoring its students, the wishes of the local community, and basic standards of ethical behaviour.

Council resolves:
1. Not to hold any OUSU events within the Said Business School, nor to associate the good name of OUSU with this institution.
2. To ensure that any events which are, unavoidably, already booked to occur within the SBS, mention the history of the building and the struggles against it to any students using its facilities. This should be done through leaflets distributed to anyone using the SBS with the help of OUSU.
3. To ensure that, in the future, the Ethics Committee is consulted when decisions which are obviously ethically controversial are made in the Student Union.

This has been seconded by Jesus College student Catriona Hobbs.



Hide the following 10 comments

i agree

12.11.2004 10:16

as a resident of oxford i find the whole stinking place offensive - the ugly building, the nature of what they teach (how best to exploit working people) as well as the fact they are funded by an accessory to mass murder and torture....

hope they get closed down...


partly a success...

12.11.2004 19:57

motion passed with amendment to remove the requirement to for participants at the RAG conference in january to be fliered with information about the building's history. but, you never know, it might happen somehow anyway...

corpus JCR OUSU rep
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12.11.2004 20:45

If people are interested, the motion was amended so that the National RAG Conference will
not be leafletted by OUSU to explain the nature of the Said Business School - but the
substantive part of the motion did pass, and OUSU will not be holding any more events
in the Said Business School.


Matt S

Nice one Matt

12.11.2004 21:09

It might just be a gesture, but it's good to keep people thinking about the consequences of their actions. As Edmund Burke once said, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing".


My view

12.11.2004 22:02

My 2 cents: under normal circumstances, I would be strongly against the involvement of an arms dealer in university development. However, Oxford University is desperately short of fees, thanks to inadequate funding by both students and the government, and for it to retain its rank on a global scale I couldn't care less where the funding came from!

A Tutor

My view

13.11.2004 01:53

What really matters is that the University should retain its rank on a global scale.
My department is therefore pleased to announce the new Myra Hindley Centre for Child Development Studies, funded by a generous grant from the late Ms. Hindley's literary estate.


A Tutor

My View

13.11.2004 16:41

Well, if you're going to be like that, then shouldn't the university refuse any funding from the government, since it's headed by someone partially responsible for the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqi civilians?

A Tutor #1

False analogy.

13.11.2004 18:42

The government is indeed temporarily headed up by a war criminal. When he goes, it no longer will be.

Goverment money is also mostly derived from ethical sources. We can always vote to make it more ethical. We have no such ability with a private corporation, and in particular there is no way to be an ethical arms dealer.

There is plenty of spare money to be had from this government, which pleads poverty on education but somehow finds billions to waste on the Iraq war.

Let's not fall for the New Labour line that the only way to fund higher education properly is to go cap in hand to gangsters.

A Tutor #2


30.11.2004 15:56

why don't we take a look at ALL oxford buildings and who they were funded by? find me one college founder pre 1900 who was ethically 'ok' and i'd be incredibly surprised. ousu would have massive problems being able to hold meetings anywhere if they continued this line of thinking.



02.12.2004 09:52

Debutante is right. The Uni was built by capitalist robber barons, from the church and crown at its founding, on to the newer buildings funded by the swag of capitalist gangsters of recent times in exchange for gongs, power and favours from the corrupt state.

So singling out one building as being somehow ethically worse than the others ignores centuries of history.

The only really decent response to this continued cycle of evil would be for the staff and students to take the University over, and run it themselves.