Essex university students challenge Big Bang sponsorship

A group of students have taken action to challenge arms company sponsorship of the Big Bang Fair held at Essex University during the Christmas holidays. The fair, which aims to inspire young people to become scientists and engineers, makes no mention of the destructive impact of it’s sponsors. Prince Charles even dropped in for a visit.

"Which way is the arms fair... I mean Big Bang fair?"

“Which way is the arms fair… I mean Big Bang fair?”

Upon learning that the fair was sponsored by arms companies such as Selex and BAE Systems, students from Essex University arranged a protest to show their opposition. Despite a heavy police presence the students made it clear that arms companies were not welcome on their campus.

Recruitment action this term

careersfairactionsIt’s been bad term for arms dealers trying to recruit on campus. Here’s a round up of some of the actions that took place:

Where: Lancaster University

What: Die-in at BAE stall

“BAE has a horrific human rights record, having sold arms to Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Algeria and Qatar. The company produces everything from nuclear submarines to the handcuffs and shackles used at Guantanamo Bay. The fact that they are here, at this respected institution, lends legitimacy to human rights abuse. We are here to say that this is not okay.”

“I think it is ethically unacceptable for a company such as BAE Systems to be allowed onto campus. We wanted to send a clear message that companies with no regard for human life are not welcome here.”


Where: University of Leeds

What: BAE stall doused in blood (see the video here)

“Making a profit from corporations associated with such blatant social and environmental injustice is unacceptable, immoral and contradictory to our University’s own ethical codes. The University of Leeds should firstly be investing money into corporations that work to build a better world, rather than profit off its destruction, and secondly encouraging its students to consider the ethical implications of their future employment. Our actions against BAE are an attempt to make the University consider its unethical policies and hopefully enact positive change accordingly; we therefore call on the University to respect the democratic referendum of the students in 2013, which voted to remove BAE Systems from promoting its shameful cause on campus.”

Where: University of Warwick

What: Grim reapers visit Rolls Royce stall (video here)

After being dragged out the reapers commented:

The way we were (literally) handled exposed some of the knee-jerk panic the University reacts with time and time again to any kind of statement against its blatant corporate agenda.

“In that sense, we owe the university our thanks. Thank you for vindicating our cause and strengthening our resolve to it. You cannot know the power you have released in us, but we’ll be happy to show you.”

Where: University of Bristol

What: Die-in at BAE stall

“This involved a large group of students entering the fair together and collapsing onto the ground, pretending to be dead, in front of BAE’s stall. They were quickly escorted from the Great Hall, where the fair was held, by university security. They also ran their own stall over the two days of the fair to provide alternative information about the arms companies present, including Thales and Airbus Group (EADS) as well as BAE.”

‘Engineering graduates are in high demand and there are many jobs in the renewable sector, which is a much more vibrant area’

Where: University of Sussex

What: Die-in against Thales (picture here)


Where: University of Leicester

What: Protest and leafleting against the presence of Thales


Where: University of Edinburgh

What: Protest and leafleting against BAE’s presence