Demilitarise Education at The University of Manchester
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A new report compiled by the UoM Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Campaign exposes the University of Manchester's extensive commercialisation, financial and research links to the arms trade, including sales to oppressive regimes.
Graphene is one of the University of Manchester's most remarkable research subjects. It is the world’s first 2D material; 200 times stronger than steel yet incredibly flexible and transparent. Graphene application is expected to provide clean drinking water for millions, yet our Vice-Chancellor, Nancy Rothwell, has chosen to pursue the commercialisation of the university’s graphene research to supply the arms trade. Versarien are an engineering company who have purchased 85% of UoM’s graphene application. Through industrial partnerships and shared ownership, they have now won a major contract with Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI), the major state corporation implicated in all aspects of Israeli military production.
Our university holds partnerships with the world’s most lethal arms corporation and institutions. These include: Lockheed Martin, Thales, BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, Ministry of Defence, Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI), Technion, Rafael Advanced Systems, Airbus, DSTL and Qinetiq. Furthermore, the CEO of the Manchester Graphene Institute, James Baker, worked for BAE Systems for 16 years and was brought to Manchester on Nancy Rothwell's request. BAE supply the Israeli Army with components for F-16s and “smart” artillery shells. The jets were exported by Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms firm and an NGI partner along with Thales, which supplies the British Army Watchkeeper drone in a joint venture with the Israeli firm Elbit. Manchester has academic ties with Technion Institution, who are partnered with Elbit who advertise their weapons as 'battle tested' by testing them on Palestinian civilians in Gaza. As long as UoM are partnered with these institutions and corporations, UoM is an active part of the global arms trade and is therefore complicit in war crimes all over the world.
Under Nancy Rothwell's control, The University of Manchester has turned into a research hub for the arms trade, with arms dealers gloating about their full access to Manchester’s graphene institute and their products. She has failed to consider or act on the fact that the investment in these companies can be linked to the death of civilians all around the world. In her own words, Rothwell clarified that the majority of university funds arise from tuition fees, which are supposed to be invested into furthering education and their self-proclaimed values of social responsibility but are instead invested in sustaining the University of Manchester's involvement with the arms trade.
In order for the university to end all institutional links with war crimes, we demand the following steps are taken immediately:
● The University will refrain from any cooperation in military or security fields with Israeli academic, State or industrial organisations, while Israel continues to defy UN Security Council resolutions and international law including the 4th Geneva Convention.
● The University will end investment, commercial and research collaboration with Versarien and its subsidiaries, in view of Versarien’s contract with Israel Aerospace Industries, which draws directly on research at the University of Manchester.
● The University will adopt and implement policies of complete transparency over past, present and future research projects so that their implications can be considered in full and to create a strategic plan of how to cease all involvement in the arms trade.
● The University will put no pressure on students to carry out research projects involving the arms industry and will offer alternatives.
● The University will commit significant resources to exploring and developing alternative industrial strategies in conjunction with trade unions and relevant experts, to end the University’s reliance on the arms industry and to develop socially useful production.
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