BAE Stink-Bombed at Leeds Uni Careers Fair

Tagged as: bae leeds protest stinkbombs stinks
Neighbourhoods: leeds leeds_university university_of_leeds


BAE Systems targeted by stink-bombs at careers fair in Leeds University in protest against the company's collusion with authoritarian regimes and profit making from conflict situations.

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Students let off stink bombs around a BAE recruitment stall at Parkinson Court in University of Leeds at midday on Thursday.  Sally Taylor, 2nd year English student, who took part in the action said, “Today BAE have been stink-bombed for three reasons: firstly, to highlight their stench-ridden deals with repressive regimes; secondly, to emphasise the collateral damage of real bombs to unintended victims; and thirdly, to get BAE Systems kicked off campus once and for all.”


'BAE STINKS!' cried the chalk messaging around campus. Students have kicked up a stink over BAE's attendance at the careers fair. BAE Systems is the second largest arms producer in the world. They have dealt arms with some of the most authoritarian countries in the world (1), such as Saudi Arabia. BAE was also found guilty of corruption by the US Department of Justice in 2010 as a result of fraud involving Saudi Arabia (2). As well as coming under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office over bribery in Tanzania (3).


Sally Taylor added that “students have had enough. The BAE careers fair literature is slick, with pictures of animals decorating the pages. What this literature doesn't tell you however is that 95% of its sales are for military purposes, including those for dictators such as Mugabe, and are used against civilian populations such as in the recent bombardment of Gaza.”


She went on to say “the careers centre don’t vet businesses who attend the events in terms of their ethical credentials, and the companies’ own slick literature is no better in giving the real story, so it is up to us to let other students know the truth. And the truth stinks.”


Fellow protester George Renoire, 3rd year physicist, said, “there was a bit of collateral damage from the stink bombs affecting other stall holders at the recruitment fair beside BAE.  But that's nothing compared to the so-called 'collateral damage' caused by BAE's military bombs in conflict zones around the world.”


Of course it’s nothing, but it does beg the question; is having BAE at the careers fair worth the hassle? If they are to be targeted for their corruption and human rights abuses by the students each time they appear, their presence is surely unfair on the other companies attending the fair, not to mention the students trying to find themselves jobs.


This is not the first time BAE have been targeted at careers fairs. Protests have been happening on campus for the past 4 years. Leeds University students are also not alone in criticising BAE's presence on campuses. Students in Sheffield, Edinburgh, Warwick, UCL, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, and more have been demonstrating recently (4). In November 2012, students at Essex University successfully dissuaded BAE from attending their careers fair (5). Beth Smith, from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) said that “students across the UK are refusing to let arms companies visit their universities unchallenged.”


(1) Economist Intelligence Unit “democracy index”





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