Students across Britain yesterday joined protests against their universities' links with the arms trade. They called for an end to university arms investments and to the involvement of arms companies in academic research.
The protests were supported by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), which has published research on the influence of arms companies on university research in the report Study War No More, produced with the Fellowship of Reconciliation - and association of Christian and other religious peacemakers (www.studywarnomore.org.uk).
At University College London (UCL), students dressed as arms dealers and sold fake weapons in the main quad. Students at Lancaster University attended an open-air debate and voted overwhelmingly against their university's links with BAE Systems. Demonstrations are under way at several universities, including Warwick, Manchester, Nottingham, Lancaster and Newcastle.
The protests follow a rise in student concern over the arms trade. In recent years, institutions including the University of Wales, Bangor and the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London have divested from arms companies in response to campaigning by students and university staff.
Joanna Hill, a student at Lancaster University, said: "I've joined this protest because I don't want my fees funding BAE. Students across Britain have today campaigned for ethical investment and made clear that they do not want their universities supporting the arms trade."
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade.
The protests were also backed by People & Planet, the largest student network in Britain campaigning to end world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment.
The most recent information on universities' arms investments can be found at http://www.caat.org.uk/campaigns/unis0708/clean-investments.php.