Southampton students disrupt BAE speech

BAE Chairman Roger Carr’s visit to speak at the University of Southampton last week was met with fierce opposition from students and locals. Students from the university joined forces with Southampton Campaign Against Arms Trade to show their opposition to BAE Systems and highlight the links between the university and the destructive arms industry.

A lively protest took place outside while activists disrupted Roger Carr’s speech entitled ‘The Defence Industry, A Moving Target’. Michael Ambrose from the Southampton Students for Palestine group explained that the protesters were against BAE who sell weapons to countries like Saudi Arabia.

He said: “We believe the speech will be about BAE who have links with the university and who have representatives as part of the university’s wider programme for employment.

“This is not just about the speech but also about the university’s links with BAE.”

southampton protest

Over 50 academics press Edinburgh University to divest

The University of Edinburgh is under renewed pressure to completely disinvest from the arms industry after over 50 academics signed an open letter calling for the institution to divest from the arms trade and fossil fuels. The University of Edinburgh’s endowment fund is the third largest in the UK valued at £230 million. The calls build on the enormous success of the 2013 student campaign which led to the University’s decision to divest from drone manufacturer Ultra Electronics.

The letter has also been supported by George Monbiot, Scottish MSP John Finnie and Edinburgh University Student Association amongst others.

Students hold up a banner saying "what is a university for? supporting the arms trade and fossil fuel industry?"

The open letter:

Dear Professor Sir Timothy O’Shea,

We are proud of being part of a University which aspires ‘to make world-leading contributions to understanding and addressing global challenges’. We are calling on the University to take action to fulfill these objectives: to divest from fossil fuels and the arms trade. While we use our endowment fund to support the fossil fuel industry, we bear responsibility for the environmental damage and social injustice that result from it. Similarly, by investing in arms companies we are fueling conflict, poverty and human rights abuses.

 The most recent IPCC report has clearly stated that anthropogenic global warming is “unequivocal”. If we continue on the current trajectory to a 4°C rise in global temperature we will face rising sea levels, reduced capacity of food production, and immanent resource wars. Whilst there is near-consensus concerning the causes and potential consequences of climate change, the global community has faltered in articulating the actions that must be taken to combat it.

 We now have a global movement that has pinpointed a simple and necessary action: divestment from fossil fuels. From the University of Glasgow, to theBritish Medical Association, The World Council of Churches, Mary Robinson,Desmond Tutu, UN Climate Chief Christiana Figueres, the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Union of Students – the support for divestment is widespread. Collectively over $50 billion of investment in fossil fuels has been withdrawn.  In order to stay below a two degree rise of global temperature, 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay underground. This is possible. A whole-scale shift to renewable energy production, coupled with increased efforts to reduce consumption would enable us to mitigate the effects of climate change. The fossil fuel industry poses a formidable barrier through funding climate change denial and lobbying politicians, thus distorting public debate and preventing action on climate change.

 Business as usual is not an option. Divestment from the fossil fuel industry means that our money will not further worsen the problem but also send a strong statement that the University of Edinburgh  is making a ‘significant, sustainable and socially responsible contribution to Scotland, the UK and the world’. We further believe that divestment from the arms trade is crucial and follows the precedent set by divesting from Ultra Electronics Ltd. Our continued investment in fossil fuels and arms, combined with the futility of shareholder engagement, constitutes inaction on climate change and human conflict across the globe. It is time that we stop thinking in terms of the risk of divestment and lead the way in creating a sustainable and secure future. By positively investing in renewable energy, local innovations and the university’s own initiatives we will be fulfilling the University’s mission and attempting to meet its targets to reduce carbon emissions.

We are calling on the University of Edinburgh to divest from fossil fuels and the arms trade.

Signed

Signed:

  1. Professor Crispin Bates, Director of Centre for South Asia Studies, School of History, Classics and Archaeology
  2. Dr. Julie Cupples, Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geosciences
  3. Dr. Sara Rich Dorman, Lecturer in Politics, School of Social and Political Sciences
  4. Dr. David Farrier, Lecturer in English Literature, School of Literature, Languages and Cultures
  5. Dr. Guy Fletcher, Lecturer in Philosophy, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Studies
  6. Dr. Franklin Ginn, Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geosciences
  7. Dr. Hugo Gorringe, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, School of Social and Political Sciences
  8. Dr. Andrew Harmer, Lecturer in Global Health Policy, School of Social and Political Science
  9. Professor Jonathan Hearn, Professor of Political and Historical Sociology, School of Social and Political Sciences
  10. Professor Lynn Jamieson, Professor of Sociology of Families and Relationships, School of Social and Political Sciences
  11. Professor Patricia Jeffery, Emerita Professor of Sociology, School of Social and Political Sciences
  12. Professor Roger Jeffery, Professor of Sociology of South Asia, School of Social and Political Science
  13. Dr. Stephen Kemp, Lecturer in Sociology, School of Social and Political Science
  14. Professor Simon King, Professor of Linguistics & English Language, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Studies
  15. Dr. Eric Laurier, Senior Lecturer in Geography and Interaction, School of Geosciences
  16. Dr. Richard Milne, Senior Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences
  17. Peter McColl, Rector and Chair of University Court
  18. Dr. Fergus McInnes, Research Fellow, School of Informatics
  19. Professor Michael Northcott, Professor of Ethics, School of Divinity
  20. Professor Andrew Patrizio, Professor of Art History, Edinburgh College of Art
  21. Dr. Pauline Phemister, Reader in Philosophy, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Studies
  22. Dr. Tom Slater, Reader in Human Geography, School of Geosciences
  23. Dr. Katherine Smith, Reader in the Global Health Public Unit, School of Social and Political Sciences
  24. Professor Liz Stanley, ESRC Professional Research Fellow, School of Social and Political Sciences
  25. Professor Janette Webb, Professor in Institute of Governance, School of Social and Political Sciences
  26. Dr. Tom Webster, Lecturer in History, School of History, Classics and Archaeology
  27. Dr. Sarah Hill, Senior Lecturer in Population Health and Health Policy, School of Social and Political Sciences
  28. Dr. Thomas Pierret, Lecturer in Contemporary Islam, School of Literature, Languages and Cultures
  29. Rev. Ali Newell, Associate Chaplain
  30. Professor Matthew Williams, Professor of Global Change Ecology, School of Geosciences
  31. Dr William Mackaness, Senior Lecturer in Geographical Information Science, School of Geosciences
  32. Professor David Stevenson, Atmospheric Chemistry Modelling, School of Geosciences
  33. Dr. Kanchana Ruwanpura, Senior Lecturer in Human Heography, School of Geosciences
  34. Dr. Caroline Lehmann, Lecturer in Biogeography, School of Geosciences
  35. Dr. Samantha Staddon, Teaching Fellow in Environment and Development, School of Geosciences
  36. Professor Dave Raey, Director of Post-graduate Teaching, School of Geosciences
  37. Professor Mark Aspinwall, Professor of Politics, School of Social and Political Science
  38. Dr. Shaun Bevan, Lecturer in Quantitative Political Science, School of Social and Political Science
  39. Dr. Andrea Birdsall, Lecturer in International Relations and Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies, School of Social and Political Science
  40. Dr. Philip Cook, Lecturer in Political Theory, School of History, Classics and Archaeology
  41. Dr. Alan Convery, Lecturer in Politics, School of Social and Political Science
  42. Professor Douglas Cairn, Professor of Classics, School of Social and Political Sciences
  43. Melanie Scott, Assistant Director Student Disability Service
  44. Dr. Andrew Cross, Research Associate, School of Geosciences
  45. Dr. Jeremy Kidwell, AHRC Post-doctoral Research Fellow, School of Divinity
  46. Dr. Songül Mecit, Post Doctoral Fellow in Islamic Studies, School of Literature, Languages and Cultures
  47. Dr. Serpil Ozdemir, Teaching Fellow in Turkish, School of Literature, Languages and Cultures
  48. Dr. Marisa Wilson, Chancellor’s Fellow of Geographies and the Lived Environment, School of Geosciences
  49. Mags Tingey, Research Officer in the Institute of Governance, School of Social and Political Sciences
  50. Dr. Aaron Thierry, Postdoctoral Research Associate, CYCLOPS, School of Geosciences
  51. Dr. Lisa Shillio, Fellow in Archaeology, School of History, Classics and Archaeology
  52. Dr. Gemma Phillips, Research Fellow, School of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences
  53. Dr. Isabel Fletcher, Global Public Health Unit Research Fellow, School of Social and Political Sciences
  54. Dr. Isabelle Darmon, Lecturer in Sociology, School of Social and Political Science
  55. Dr. Claire Haggett, Lecturer in Sociology and Sustainability, School of Social and Political Sciences

Sheffield Uni’s £30m funding from arms companies revealed

The University of Sheffield received nearly £30m from companies involved in the arms trade in the past five years, a Freedom of Information request by The Free University of Sheffield has found.

Rolls-Royce, which produces military aircraft engines and earns 23 per cent of its turnover from arms, invested £4,730,924 in the University last year only. BAE systems, which is the world’s third largest arms producer, invested £1,113,859. Around 94 per cent of BAE systems revenue comes from the sale of arms.

A spokesperson for the University of Sheffield said: “The University has several innovative research partnerships with international companies, including Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems and Boeing, which bring major benefits to students, allow us to offer a unique education experience and also drive important research projects to overcome the world’s toughest challenges.”

Interesting definition of the ‘world’s toughest challenges’ there.

Welfare Officer Tom Harrison told Forge Press:

“Sheffield students have long demanded the University of Sheffield cut ties with arms companies and I wholeheartedly support that, considering there is a legitimate academic freedoms argument to be had.”

 

“As is Union policy, the Union does not support any involvement with arms companies, whether promoting them at careers fairs, being funding by them or academic resources being used to support their aims.”

 

“When arms manufacturers are bankrolling universities, whose interest do you think research will benefit?

Sheffield students hold a 'die-in' outside arms company Thales' stall