Image: Martin Day / The Boar

University Council dismisses demands for ‘demilitarisation’ by campus protestors

The Council of the University of Warwick has dismissed demands by student protestors for the ‘demilitarisation’ of campus, following a meeting on Wednesday.

In a statement, the Council rejected claims by demonstrators that the University had direct ties to the war in Gaza, asserting that whilst it holds agreements with the defence sector, none of these are linked to the production of offensive weapons.

It highlighted the existing “ethical framework” in place to monitor partnerships, and pledged to review these systems at a later date.

The University Council is the governing body of the University of Warwick, with specific authority over finance and the University estate. It meets up to five times a year, and is formed of up to 21 members, a majority of whom are independent industry professionals.

We […] are reviewing our policies and procedures in line with our robust ethical, social, environmental and governance standards

University spokesperson

A University spokesperson told The Boar that: “The University does not hold contracts leading to the direct manufacturing or assembly of offensive weaponry or capabilities.

“We are committed to advancing and safeguarding the highest ethical standards in all our partnerships and investments, and are reviewing our policies and procedures in line with our robust ethical, social, environmental and governance standards.”

Student protestors led by the group Warwick Stands With Palestine have previously called on the University to terminate partnerships with companies they argue are “facilitating” Israel’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza.

The country has faced allegations of perpetrating human rights abuses and war crimes during its operation, aimed at dismantling terror group Hamas following its 7 October attack on Israel. At least 35,000 people have been killed in the course of the war.

Warwick Stands With Palestine has claimed University Management is “complicit” in the war. It has highlighted in particular the University’s agreements with the defence contractors BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, and Moog.

The group has further urged that the University formally and publicly call for an unconditional ceasefire in the conflict. The Council similarly rejected this demand, insisting that “universities are apolitical institutions”. It referred to guidance from the Office for Students that “advised universities against making political statements.”

Regarding a third demand by protestors for the University to assist Palestinian higher education, the Council hailed its status as a University of Sanctuary for refugees and asylum seekers from conflict zones. It indicated that a meeting had taken place with “academic advocates for Palestine” to open the way for direct assistance to displaced Palestinian students.

Addressing the demonstrations directly, the Council statement warned that: “Any discrimination targeted at an individual or group will not be tolerated.”

It alleged that on the night before the Council meeting, several Community Safety Team staff had been “assaulted”, and that such actions were “wholly unacceptable”.

Warwick Stands With Palestine has been contacted for comment.


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