Symon Hill

Universities face renewed student protest over arms trade links

By Symon Hill
February 16, 2009

The last week has seen a nationwide string of protests against universities' links with arms companies. Autonomous student groups took peaceful action on campuses across Britain, backed by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT).

Students at Warwick University ran an Alternative Careers Fair, providing information on arms companies that regularly recruit the institution's graduates.

Campaigners at the University of Central Lancashire staged a rooftop protest as others handed out leaflets about academic research funded by BAE.

Cardiff University held a public debate, students demonstrated outside Nottingham University and other actions were reported as far apart as Glasgow and London.

CAAT's Local Campaigns Co-ordinator, Anne-Marie O'Reilly said it was “really exciting” to see the level of student action. “The strength of feeling among students has been made utterly clear” she added.

Increasing student anger over the arms trade has been exacerbated by the recent conflict in Gaza, which led to renewed criticism of arms sales to Israel. However, campaigns against universities' arms links have become increasingly common in recent years and several of have enjoyed considerable success.

Most recently, a long-running campaign at University College London (UCL) led to the introduction of an ethical investment policy last month.

It looks likely to mean an end to UCL's stake in the arms company Cobham. This follows similar divestment from arms companies at universities including Bangor and St Andrew's.

More information at

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.