Student Council motion proposes to ban arms companies from EUSA venues

A motion has been proposed at the Student Council this week calling for the university to divest further in armament companies and to ban such companies from presenting and recruiting students at the upcoming Careers Fair.

The motion intends to specifically target companies with unethical and controversial methods and means of production.

The motion, proposed by Hannah Roques, argues that university has been inconsistent with investment standards.

It states: “The University divested from Ultra Electronics due to their involvement in manufacturing parts for drones. It is thus hypocritical for them to continue to give a platform to other companies which produce parts for military drones, i.e. BAE Systems who are in the process of developing the Taranis drone.”

Opponents of the motion argue that banning armament companies from Careers Fair opportunities puts careers and jobs for engineering students in jeopardy.

“Banning [these companies] from the Careers Fair is cruel on those graduating, as jobs are never easy to come by. The University is really shooting themselves in the foot by denying job opportunities to graduates this way,” said a first year engineering student who wished to remain anonymous.

 In pushing this particular motion, the proposers made reference to other companies that invest in armaments.

The brief references BAE Systems, stating that they are “one of the largest arms companies in the world and [have been] continually given a platform by the University at careers fairs and other events.”

It continued: “BAE’s arms are sold indiscriminately around the world and their customers include some of the most repressive regimes such as Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. The company has military customers in over one hundred countries and around 95 per cent of its sales are military.”

The topic is one of continual controversy in the university’s community. It can be traced back to a Careers Fair in 2010 when members of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) society at University of Edinburgh staged a “die in” protest at the BAE Systems booth.

Since then, the Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA) has further codified the University community’s lack of support for investment in and cooperation with controversial armament companies. They have passed six previous motions pushing the University to sever ties with armament companies such as BAE, making the upcoming motion supported by precedent, however it is being treated as more controversial for a few key reasons.

Speaking to The Student on the motion, proposer Hannah Roques said:

“Basically the motion is to ask EUSA to campaign against arms companies having a platform on campus ie representation at careers fairs and other university events. Also, for EUSA not to allow arms companies in EUSA buildings and finally to publish a statement outlining their position.”

The motion will be voted on at the first Student Council meeting tonight, Thurs 1 October, in Teviot Debating Hall.

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