Sheffield University Arts Tower: Students occupy UK's tallest education building in arms trade protest

Student activists have taken over Sheffield University's Arts Tower in a protest against the institution's links to the arms trade.
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The Sheffield Action Group set up camp in the tower, which is the UK's tallest education building, on Thursday evening and intends to stay as long as possible.

Last year, a Freedom of Information request revealed Sheffield University had received over £72million from companies involved in the arms trade, which is more than any other UK university.

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Key funders include Rolls Royce and BAE Systems, whose engines and fighter jets have been used by the Saudi military in their assault on Yemen.

The student activists claim the University of Sheffield has refused to respond to any other approaches, forcing protestors to take this action.

Today, a spokesperson from the University of Sheffield, said: “A small group of people have occupied the Arts Tower. 

“The University’s priority is to minimise disruption for students and staff. Some lectures and seminars have been moved to alternative locations. We ask students to check their timetable regularly about any potential venue changes.”

Balaclava donning student activists have occupied the Arts Tower to protest The University of Sheffield's links with the Arms Trade. (Photo courtesy of @sheffaction)Balaclava donning student activists have occupied the Arts Tower to protest The University of Sheffield's links with the Arms Trade. (Photo courtesy of @sheffaction)
Balaclava donning student activists have occupied the Arts Tower to protest The University of Sheffield's links with the Arms Trade. (Photo courtesy of @sheffaction)
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Funding from companies with links to the arms industry is entirely legal and there is no suggestion of any wrong-doing.

Last year, a spokesperson from the University of Sheffield, said: "The university has a wide range of research, development and learning partnerships that work to further innovation, provide opportunities for students and find solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges.

"Our connections with industrial partners mean we can help to influence positive change and accelerate more sustainable manufacturing practices – making things faster, cheaper and greener to support our regional and national economy. For example, our work in high-performance lightweight materials has led to the production of lighter, more fuel-efficient cars and planes.

"We have a code of ethics for all of our research and innovation, which ensures there is rigorous governance in place. We are also committed to providing our students with information about a wide range of organisations offering placements and graduate jobs at our careers fairs, so they can make personal informed decisions about their future careers."