UWE students to peacefully disarm military business fair on campus through party

Press release
For immediate release: 18 November 2013

UWE students to peacefully disarm military business fair on campus through party

Photo/video opportunities: 19 November from 4pm (meeting at main bus stop of UWE’s Frenchay campus^1) and onwards^2

On 19 November, students of the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and their allies will attempt to peacefully disarm a military business event of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) planned to take place the next day on campus.  A party entitled ‘Drop Beats, not Bombs’ will start at 4pm on campus and later converge on the UWE Conference Centre, where the Defence Procurement Research, Technology & Exportability (DPRTE) 2013 fair is scheduled to take place on 20 November.

UWE students argue that the University’s undemocratic decision to host this military business fair is not merely obscene; most importantly, it highlights UWE’s increasing collusion with business and military institutions. Students also denounce UWE’s strategy of cutting on courses, staff and quality while furthering a business agenda through large infrastructures which are largely useless to students and education, such as the planned 20,000 seat ‘UWE stadium’ or the conference centre, where DPRTE 2013 is to take place.

UWE students denounce the Bloodhound SSC project, a rocket-propelled car funded by, and developed in partnership with, the MoD, promoted by the University as a strategic project^3 and recently ‘greenwashed’ by the University’s Assistant Vice Chancellor for Sustainability^4. Instead of furthering far-reaching problems detrimental to students, people, education, and sustainability within and beyond the university, UWE students call on the University to start taking a responsible role towards their students, staff and education as well as towards contemporary societal, geopolitical and ecological crises.

Helen who studies at UWE’s Bristol Business School said: “With the ‘Drop Beats, not Bombs’ party, we will bring life to this university and further peace while disarming the business of death. This undemocratically decided and obscene networking fair enabling military, industry and business worlds to meet in order to make profits is not in the interests of students and education. It reveals the University’s considerable and growing collusion with business and military worlds. UWE Frenchay is stuck between huge sites of the MoD and Hewlett Packard. UWE’s collusion with the military and business is embodied in the Bloodhound SSC’s project central to UWE’s 2020 strategy. We denounce UWE’s irresponsible strategy of furthering a business and military agenda at the detriment of courses, students, staff, the quality of education, critically important research, sustainability and peace. UWE’s claimed commitment to its students is also contradicted by the development of large business-friendly infrastructures such as the planned 20,000 seat ‘UWE stadium’ or the ECC which are largely useless to students, education and research. In fact, they are even useless in themselves, because they will be and are mostly empty most of the time … except for the kind of big business that UWE supports and wants to attract, even if what they do enables massive power inequalities waste, destruction, suffering and death everywhere in the world”.

Notes for editors and journalists:
Updates will be posted on the following website: https://network23.org/uwe-struggles/
1 Information to access UWE’s Frenchay campus is available here
2 We may also be able to provide images. Please email us to express interest and make requests.
3 http://www2.uwe.ac.uk/services/Marketing/about-us/pdf/UWE-Bristol-Strategy-2020.pdf
4 http://www.westerneye.net/comment/2013/11/open-letter-to-uwe-sustainability-of-the-bloodhound-scc-cars-rockets-and-forthcoming-arms-and-defence-fair-at-uwe/5 See ECC’s calendar: http://info.uwe.ac.uk/events/eventlisting.aspx?categoryID=42, see the following blog post by a UWE student about the planned stadium in relation to UWE’s argument: https://network23.org/benoit/2011/12/14/uwe-stadium-what-it-means-for-uwe-students/

Notes for allies:
Please send this press release and the related petition far and wide: https://www.change.org/petitions/calling-the-university-of-the-west-of-england-uwe-bristol-not-to-invest-itself-into-promote-support-or-enable-profit-making-from-of-through-wars-military-uses-of-research-military-networks-and-violent-approaches-towards-conflicts
Updates will be posted on the following website: https://network23.org/uwe-struggles/

Contact and interviews:
Email uwe.better.together@gmail.com with specific requests/proposals and contact details.