Warwick University students protest against arms company partnerships - The Coventry Observer

Warwick University students protest against arms company partnerships

STUDENTS took over Warwick University’s IDL building in protest against arms company partnerships.

On June 15th, students at Warwick University occupied the International Digital Laboratory (IDL) of the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), marking the 50th day of the Warwick Stands With Palestine (WSWP) ‘Gaza Solidarity Encampment.’

This action is part of a broader campaign calling for the University to sever ties with arms companies like BAE Systems, Rolls Royce, and Thales, which are accused of supplying the Israeli military with weaponry used in Gaza.

A coalition of over 70 student and staff organisations, demanded the University to end its partnerships with these companies.

The group views Palestine as central to global liberation efforts and insists the University must cut all ties with Israel.

The escalation to occupying a critical building, especially during an Open Day, follows what WSWP describes as repeated refusals by the University to engage in dialogue despite ongoing protests, sit-ins, and formal communications over the past eight months.




The students hoped that by disrupting the operations of WMG, which boasts an annual turnover of over £110million, they can pressure administrators into negotiations.

An anonymous occupier said: “Warwick University is complicit in the genocide from Gaza to Congo to Sudan, through its partnerships with companies like BAE Systems and Rolls Royce, who use our campus facilities to develop weapons sustaining these conflicts.”


 

Another anonymous protester added: “It’s clear those in power have no interest in stopping genocide. Change must come from the people, through direct action and sabotage, which has historically led to significant progress.”

Investigations by The Boar have revealed WMG’s long-standing ties to the arms industry, dating back to its founding in the 1980s.

The department was favored by Margaret Thatcher and has since become a hub for companies like British Aerospace (now BAE Systems) and Rolls Royce.

In 2011, Warwick University signed a Memorandum of Understanding with BAE Systems to foster collaborative research and education.

BAE Systems, according to their website, contributes to approximately 15 per cent of each F-35 fighter jet, currently used by the Israeli Air Force.

WSWP’s demands include:

Terminating all academic and teaching partnerships with companies that facilitate Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

A call for an immediate ceasefire and advocate for the rights of the Palestinian people.

Assist in rebuilding Gaza’s educational infrastructure, establish links with Palestinian universities, and expand scholarships for Palestinian students.

Ensure the rights of Palestinian students, staff, and allies to protest and express solidarity.

A spokesperson from the University said: “The University is aware of the end of the demonstration near Senate House, as well as the continuing demonstration in the IDL building.

“We continue to manage these demonstrations in line with our legal duty to free speech, as well as our commitment to ensuring the safety and security of everyone on campus.

“Free speech will be vigorously protected at Warwick, as long as discourse is occurring within a framework of the law, respect and safety. The situation is being monitored and reviewed.”

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