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Students Call For An End To University Involvement In The Arms Industry

Disarm Nottingham | 29.02.2008 00:09 | DSEi 2007 | Anti-militarism | Terror War

On Wednesday 27th around 40 students assembled in front of the Portland Building on University Park campus to hold a ‘die-in’ in protest to the Universities’ involvement with the arms industry. This event was part of a ‘national day of action against University involvement with the arms trade’, and similar events took place at Universities around the country.

The protesters ‘died’ on the forecourt (some with quite blood curdling sound effects), covered in fake blood, to represent the casualties of the arms trade, and highlight the University of Nottinghams’ complicity and support for this unethical industry. Others held up banners, handed out fliers or operated the megaphone, to spread the message and make people aware of the situation.

The students are calling for the University to adopt an ethical investment policy, something it has failed to do, despite several years of student campaigning; and the fact that other institutions have already taken the progressive steps of adopting such policies (including Edinburgh, Manchester, SOAS and st Andrews). Student tuition fees are still directly and indirectly being invested in the arms industry. The students are also campaigning against the University’s role in giving companies such as BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and Qinetiq (corporations with shockingly unethical track records) a platform from which to execute their recruitment campaigns. The campaigners also want to progressively reduce and phase out research that is conducted for military purposes. According to the recent report ‘study war no more’, produced by Campaign Against the Arms Trade, the University of Nottingham has received at least £29 million from the arms industry since 2001 for conducting research in 46 separate projects. This is clearly an economic exercise for the University; it seems there is currently little or no room for considerations of an ethical nature.

The event was excellently timed, and quite by accident coincided with a University open day! Many passing students seemed very surprised to find out just how deeply involved the University is in the arms/”defence”/weapons manufacturing industry. Most students were in agreement that profiteering from the proliferation of arms, thus fanning the flames of conflict and destruction, is a negative and unethical activity. The shiny corporate front to much of this process, goes a long way to concealing the realities; this event was very much about bringing the true consequences of University-arms trade activities back to their source, at least in a visual way!

As the event drew to a close chalk outlines were drawn around ‘the dead’ to serve as a lasting reminder of the consequences of the activities this University is engaged in; after the protest had ended. Some of the outlines had messages written inside them including “I was killed by BAE Systems” and “I was killed by Rolls Royce”.

After the die-in, a short meeting was held to discuss the campaign. A representative from Nottingham Disarm Dsei gave a short talk about wider anti-arms trade campaigning.

The event was very successful and certainly raised some eye-brows within the University Administration and awareness within the student-body. The hope now is that the injection of interest this event has generated will create and gather momentum for the campaign, so that concerned students can bring greater pressure to bear upon the University to end it’s involvement with this despicable, irresponsible industry. Nottingham may well be a ‘global institute of educational excellence’; but it’s important to remember you can be excellent at doing something deeply unethical. Perhaps the University needs to fundamentally re-asses itself in terms of principles, true global justice and social responsibility.

A video from the event can be found here:

To get involved with the campaign, contact:

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Display the following 2 comments

  1. Previously on Indymedia... — IMCista
  2. Study War No More Report — Martha