A careers fair at the University of Warwick has been greeted with scenes of protest from members of the Weapons out of Warwick (WooW) campaign.
The campaign is run by People and Planet, a network of students throughout Britain who campaign in the interest of ending world poverty, defending human rights and protecting the environment.
People and Planet had a presence at the fair throughout the day in two capacities: they distributed leaflets containing information on the companies at the fair as well as staging what is known as a ‘die-in’.
The leaflets, called ‘Fair Information’, contained information concerning the ethical practices of the companies that WooW believed would have been missing from their recruitment packs.
The die-ins formed the main protest aspect of the day, culminating in about ten members of WooW theatrically screaming and falling to the floor in front of the BAE stall, pretending to be dead.
One of the members then explained what they were doing and why, while the other members remained on the floor. This led to an extended exchange with University security who advised the protestors that they were violating several health and safety regulations.
Chris Maughan, a second-year PhD student involved with the campaign, told the _Boar_: “We felt this effectively dramatised the willful ignorance toward human misery and death required of prospective employees of such companies.”
The day of action was held in an effort to challenge the presence of arms companies on campus, with
their main target being the weapons manufacturer BAE systems.
Jac Bastian, WooW coordinator with People and Planet, said: “Ideally, we’d like the university to consider the ethical records of companies before inviting them to careers fairs, as opposed to simply allowing the richest companies to recruit, regardless of their actions, as this only serves to legitimise such companies.
“We also aim to give students a fuller picture of the work of companies such as BAE, who are already
being shunned by graduates due to their dubious ethical practices.”
However weapons manufacturers were not the only targets of the student protest. Other companies targeted included Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Aldi Stores for their apparent various workers’ rights violations and in some cases, what was called a “blatant disregard for the environment”.