Hundreds of students and staff marched through campus yesterday demanding that the University of Warwick cut ties with defence companies on campus.
Protestors gathered outside of Senate House at midday yesterday in a demonstration organised by the Warwick Stands with Palestine group, following a march on the 25 October.
The protests lasted three hours and culminated in Warwick Student-Staff Solidarity, a left-wing grouping, handing a petition signed by 469 students and staff to a University of Warwick representative outside of Senate House.
We find it disgusting that our place of learning has been corrupted by academic partnerships with companies like Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems. By inviting these corporations onto our campus, this University undermines the liberatory potential of education
Warwick Student-Staff Solidarity
The letter outlined demands from the group for the University to sever all ties with the defence industry and “halt the arms trade with Israel, as well as funding and military research”.
Warwick Stands with Palestine told The Boar in a statement: “We find it disgusting that our place of learning has been corrupted by academic partnerships with companies like Rolls-Royce and BAE Systems.
“By inviting these corporations onto our campus, this University undermines the liberatory potential of education.”
A clear target of the demonstration was BAE Systems, a British arms company. BAE was Britain’s eighth-largest manufacturing company in 2022 and has numerous ties with the University.
In 2011, Warwick and BAE signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ which saw the expansion of post-graduate engineering courses at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and a commitment to extend joint research and development programs.
WMG, alongside other University departments, were the subject of many chants and speeches made by protesters throughout the day. One student told those taking part in the demonstration underneath Library bridge: “The Physics and Chemistry Departments have blood on their hands.”
Another student stated: “WMG is an example of how deeply intertwined the military-industrial complex is with the UK university system.”
Representatives from the protest group were cooperative and considerate – and we thank them for their approach this afternoon
University of Warwick Spokesperson
The protest also saw a significant increase in on-campus security when compared to the previous march. Alongside campus security officers, the University hired an additional 20 personnel from the external Birmingham-based security company SNSG.
When asked about the additional security presences on campus, the University told The Boar: “Our community safety team had a visible presence on campus for the protest, to ensure it passed off safely and peacefully for all members of our community during what was a busy day on campus with a number of different events taking place.
“It’s not unusual for us to bring in some extra support in these circumstances to enable us to offer reassurance to staff, students and visitors around the campus who can sometimes feel uncomfortable or worried by demonstrations.”
The University also noted: “Representatives from the protest group were cooperative and considerate – and we thank them for their approach this afternoon.”