Student activists call on UOW to break ties with weapons companies

Student activists have called on the University of Wollongong to break ties with weapons companies.

They were speaking at the Disarm UOW forum on campus held just days after the anniversary of Hiroshima Day,

Monday, August 6 marked the 73rd anniversary of the first use of nuclear weapons against humanity. 

On Wednesday, the student activists highlighted the ‘Books not Bombs’ campaign led by the National Union of Students, to stop military research and investment into weapons companies in Australian universities.

Wollongong Undergraduate Students Association (WUSA) education officer Isabelle Liddy said the Turnbull Government was cutting funding from universities to pay for a weapons boom.

“All over the country there is a growing pattern of education and research being funnelled into the production chain of weapons manufacturing,” she said.

“This has come as a result of continually slashing government funding to higher education, paving the way for private investors.

“Students and staff deserve a fully publicly funded higher education system free from corporate influence, especially those that profit from war.”

Student activist Claire Dunning said there was a growing movement against weapons research across the country.

“The Books not Bombs campaign at UOW is part of a national campaign by the National Union of Students to demand the government prioritise education funding over weapons research,” she said.

“We believe that universities are not the place for corporations to profit from war-mongering, and demand that all universities cut ties with military research.”

The Disarm UOW activists said the Wollongong university was the only NSW campus which participated in the Defence Materials Technology Centre, a research facility which has provided technology for the Bushmaster and Hawkei combat vehicles.

Student union representative Olivia Pierson added UOW had deep links with for profit weapons companies, 

“I don’t think that it’s a coincidence that the Australian government is handing out billions of dollars to weapons manufacturers while Trump is ramping up imperialist tensions between the US and China,” she said.