The corporate lobby video tour

Sometimes stories in the news can make you wonder who is really pulling the strings. This 10-minute video exposes the role corporate lobby groups have in EU decision-making – who they are, how they get what they want, and how they affect you, and others like you all over Europe, from the food on your plate, to rules for bankers, to the chemicals allowed in everyday products. Watch, learn, and share!

Also available on youtube here.

Growing concerns with the ‘UWE stadium’

Featured image from The Bristol Cable.

On 17 May, The Secret Administrator posted this report, summarising some of the planning issues with the UWE stadium, and suggesting that the delays may become a financial problem for UWE.

On 29 October, it was the turn of David Goldblatt in The Bristol Cable to challenge the project, this time questioning the relevance of a 21,700 seat stadium for a football club whose matches attract no more than about 6,000 on average, and the poor urbanism thinking behind this project.

Meanwhile, at UWE, UWESU’s website keeps stating that the project has received “student criticism” (but UWESU repeatedly refused to share the substance of such criticism), and uncritically relays the voice of the university.

On 15 September, UWE’s self-proclaimed “totally independent student newspaper” published a piece merely reporting delays to the planned stadium due planning issues. The student newspaper never investigated student criticisms related to the ‘UWE stadium’, but published on 14 November a (critical) review of Byron Hamburgers.

Bloodhound SSC: is a project inspiring students to work for the military sustainable?

Bloodhound SSC is an engineering project that aims to break the 1000mph World Land Speed Record with a rocket-propelled car. Since starting in 2008, the project has been widely praised for its ambition and technology. However, an interview given by the project’s Senior Design Engineer  in April this year suggests that the project was only set up to address a skill shortage within the military. Besides that UWE is heavily involved to serve the military, drawing on the recently published “Arms to Renewables” report by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), UWE student highlights broader implications for employability and sustainability.

Read more on the WesternEye.

UWESU’s VP Education challenges overly enthusiastic student satisfaction report

Featured picture from JJ Clark’s 2014 video campaign statement on Youtube.

On the front page of the WesternEye’s September 2014 issue, Philip Mansell signed an enthusiastic article entitled ‘UWE student success and satisfaction soars’. The article is also available online here.

However, on 21 October 2014, Mansell’s enthusiastic piece was fundamentally challenged by UWESU’s VP Education JJ Clark on his blog.  Clark wrote that “the discussions I’ve been having with staff and students over last few months paint a rather different picture than the one outlined in Philip Mansel’s article” and stressed that, actually, “UWE has slipped 2% in overall satisfaction of their students to 84%, which is 2% lower than the sector average.”

To read Clark’s post, click here.


Protest held against UWE’s decision to host UK’s ‘sixth biggest arms company’

Dozens of protesters gathered in front of the Bristol City Hall during a talk by the CEO of QinetiQ (experts in defence, aerospace and security), Leon Quin, last Thursday 9th of October. According to Campaign Against Arms Trade, QinetiQ is the sixth biggest arms company in the UK. The event was organised by the University of the West of England (UWE) as part of the Bristol Distinguished Address Series that happen annually.

Read more on the WesternEye’s website.


Students up in arms over protest treatment

Page 4 of the Uni Paper Bristol’s May 2014 paper issue, featured an article about the ongoing #reviewUWE campaign so we’ve copied it here.

Students up in arms over protest treatment, by Paige Williams

STUDENTS at UWE are demanding an independent review into the university’s handling of protestors of the Defence, Procurement, Research, Technology & Exportability conference 2013.

Students protested outside of the conference, which they have dubbed the ‘UWE arms fair,’ on 20th November 2013, because they disagree with UWE’s renting out of the Exhibition and Conference Centre for the event, calling it “irresponsible”.

However, Keith Hicks, UWE’s head of Marketing and Communications, commented: “It is our policy not to support arms fair. This is not an arms fair. This is a conference that promotes project management of large procurement projects and supply chain management.”

Despite this statement from UWE, students still decided to protest and in an open letter to UWE’s governing body on 2nd April 2014 they stated there was “widespread hostility, threats and attacks from DPRTE participants, UWE security, UWE staff including top management, and the police, on protestors”.

Although the police reported that the protest was peaceful, UWE’s community police officer, PC Mark Brain, arrested a protester, claiming assault. However, the charge was later dropped. One protestor was also assaulted by a DPRTE participant who caused him a bleeding injury, whilst one more had their foot run over by another conference goer’s car.

Protestors have also stated: “Steve West [Vice-Chancellor of UWE] was seen in person at the protest site, near the ECC, acting against the protests by intimidating protestors with arrest, and then chasing up policemen to carry out his threats.”

The protestors concluded: “UWE security and police prioritised the military business fair over our safety and freedom of expression” and “this is not just about one event, it is about maintainting the solidarity of students, staff and people all over the country in the face of corporate greed.”

UWE have confirmed that they have received the open letter dated 2nd April 2014 but there has not yet been news of an independent review.