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Students ‘Die’ in protest against University’s investment in Arms

mima | 15.02.2009 23:16 | Education | Palestine | Social Struggles | Birmingham

Students at the University of Birmingham are continuing their campaign against the university's investments in the arms trade, on Wednesday afternoon a group of students staged a 'die in' to represent the University's actions with the aim to maintain pressure on the University to change its irresponsible investments.

Students 'die' to symbolise the result of the University's investments
Students 'die' to symbolise the result of the University's investments

On Wednesday 11th February in alliance with the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) day of action student activists ‘died’ outside the Aston Webb building, where University Management reside, in protest against the University’s investment in the arms trade.

Students dramatically staged a ‘line up’ where they were one by one shot and ‘died’ in order to represent how the University of Birmingham finance the production and therefore use of weaponry. Despite the rain, the dedicated students remained outside the Aston Webb building for at least 20 minutes, leaflets were handed out to passers by and a speech was conducted by our ‘armed’ narrator addressing University management and students.

The action was primarily in protest of the University’s investments in the Barclays Global Investment (BGI) Fund. The BGI Fund has the largest amount of shares in the global arms sector, with £7.3 billion invested in total. The shear amount of money involved in the BGI Fund clearly illustrates just how damaging it could be, and the University of Birmingham are actively aiding this.

The University has a policy to administer its funds ethically, but given that Barclays ranks among the top 10 largest investors in US arms companies, serves as the principle banker for three major arms companies and has invested in and given loans to companies that produce cluster munitions and depleted uranium munitions this is hardly ‘ethical investment’.

Students need to make a stance against the University’s irresponsible investments and demonstrate that they want to rid the University of military and arms involvement. Until the University comply with their students demands they should expect further protests and demonstrations as a call for change and to raise awareness about the university's destructive and harmful investments.