Dear Steve West, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of UWE,
UWE students peacefully protesting today have informed you that UWE security and police did not protect members of the public including UWE students this morning, preferring instead to arrest a protester and facilitate traffic for the military business fair on campus today. One UWE student was also caused a bleeding injury by a conference participant this morning and we are far from having the full picture of what you will be held accountable for.
For the time being, UWE students request that UWE grants access to the Conference Centre that is supposed to be part of our university, for a group of members of the public (including UWE students) to perform a democratic citizens’ inspection of the military business fair that UWE undemocratically decided to host, against the stated destination of this facility (DPRTE is not a conference). We want to see what kind of technology, deals and activity going on inside our own university today. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a response and direct phone contact as soon as this has been arranged.
UWE students are now in front of UWE’s Conference Centre. There is police and private security. Police is even inside the ECC, whilst UWE students are forced to stay outside!
Two groups of students are in front of each main entrance. So far, we have seen some equipment being moved into the building, including a surveillance drone and several long boxes (about the right dimensions to fit a rifle).
One group of spokes went to deliver a message to Steve West, asking be have access to the ECC by 7pm, and for students to be basically allowed to circulate within their own university.
We have a sound system blasting some energetic music, some food is on the way and we just setup a media tent. As you see, we are all very busy and doing lots of things, and we could do with some help.
If you want to take a stand for your university, against the arms and military business, wars, for sustainability and against UWE’s top management irresponsibility, and have lots of fun and meet lots of great people in the process, now is the time!
Bring your friends, warm drinks, warm clothes, food, equipment, banners, whatever you’ve got that might be helpful. In the meantime, we’ll try to keep you updated (Internet is bad down here) and gain access to our university to have a lively party inside the ECC against the business of death!
Dear Vice-Chancellor West,
This is our university, we should have free access to all parts at any time. We are appalled at the presence of the DPRTE military business and arms fair at UWE. Furthermore, we are dismayed at being blocked from the ECC for this private event. We do not appreciate the intimidating presence of private security. To rectify this, we demand access to the ECC by 7pm and for UWE to commit to fund and organise a conference against war and the arms trade.
Concerned UWE students
Drop beats not bombs rally
4pm @ UWE, Frenchay campus
by the bus stops
Listen out for the sound system!
The University of the West of England in Bristol is hosting an arms and ‘defence’ business fair on the 20th November 2013. This conference portrays itself as the main networking and business event in the UK for the MOD and the military community. See their website: http://www.dprte.co.uk
Students are coming together and welcome support to kick them off campus!
Students at UWE believe a decision to host this event is not in the interest of students or education but part of a wider shift towards profit-driven interests. We are calling on UWE 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. Students also denounce the University’s strategy of investing into large infrastructures which are largely useless to students and education, like the planned 20,000 seats ‘UWE stadium’ or UWE’s massive Conference Centre, where this conference is to take place.
Please sign our petition here:
Our student newspaper, the WesternEye has published this article: http://www.westerneye.net/news/2013/11/uwe-hosts-arms-fair/
A student has written an open letter showing the related gaps between UWEs claims to sustainability and this military conference:
Sign the petition.
If you are at UWE or in Bristol, print and display, email, tweet and facebook the poster and the press release. If you can, join the protest-party-action starting at 4pm at UWE’s main campus (Frenchay) main bus station. If you can’t come at 4pm, ask, find the protest and the party that will then converge towards the conference centre. This will probably proceed throughout the evening and possibly the night. Bring whatever you can to support (friends, equipment, music, food, banners, etc.). If you can’t come today, consider joining the protests tomorrow 20 November that were scheduled in case the event is still imposed on us.
If you cannot join or support physically, email, tweet and facebook the press release, our updates on this blog and our tweets. Send letters to UWE top management and cc this email address: uwe.better.together [at] gmail [dot] com. We also trust you to have many ideas and to take initiative on them!