Arms firms giving more to Sheffield than any other uni

The Sheffield SCCP launch a protest at the university [Nick McAlpin/The New Arab]

A new report by staff at the University of Sheffield revealed that the institution receives more money from arms companies than any other UK university.

The report, titled The Genocide and Apartheid Complicity Report, published on Wednesday by the Sheffield Campus Coalition for Palestine (SCCP) estimates the university is conducting tens, if not hundreds of millions of pounds worth of weapons related research.

The report also found that the university enables defence companies to use taxpayers to fund as much as 95 percent of their research and development costs.

In the report, staff highlight that the university’s engineering department has taken £72 million from arms companies such as Boeing, Airbus, Rolls Royce and BAE Systems between 2012 and 2022, which they say is more than any other UK university.

One of the biggest points of concern for the SCCP is the companies’ involvement in producing essential parts in weapons and warplanes sent to Israel and used to target Palestinian civilians.

The report coincided with the 76th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, or Catastrophe, and Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza which has killed at least 35,200 Palestinians and wounded 79,000 others.

The ferocious bombardment of the besieged enclave has plunged it into a deep humanitarian crisis, wiping out entire neighbourhoods and devastating infrastructure and medical facilities, while causing widespread starvation.

“The University of Sheffield hosts nuclear weapons designers at Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and allows arms companies to direct the strategic and teaching goals of the institution through membership of department advisory boards with no transparent ethical producers,” the report stated.

“The authors wish to engage with the campus and local communities, generate meaningful engagement from all stakeholders and develop a viable plan to transition our university away from dependence on arms funding…” it added.

Students launch 12-hour sit in

The report was published on the same day students launched a 12-hour sit-in at Diamond, one of the university engineering departments’ primary buildings.

It comes two weeks after students launched a protest encampment to demand an end to any links to Israeli companies.

Betty, a postgraduate research student, told The New Arab the students launched the sit-in from a “position of deep pain to demand the university divests from the Israeli apartheid regime.”

“We are not going to be silenced and we are not going away, business as normal cannot be allowed to resume when that business is complicity and the bloodstained supply or arms to those committing war crimes,” she said.

Betty called the situation a “fundamental moral issue of our age”, saying they “refuse to square mass murder, including the families of our friends and colleagues here in Sheffield with our consciences.”

Another student at the sit in called it a symbolic action.

“…When we are in this space, we showcase a liberated education which is not shaped by arms representatives on Industrial Advisory Boards, or by research priorities set by dirty money,” the student member of SCCP said in a statement.

The SCCP has also accused the university management of failing to engage with student protesters, who they say have not responded to their concerns.

The coalition added that this is part of a broader pattern of behaviour displayed by the university management throughout the year, including ignoring emails, petitions and protests from the students since October.

A statement from the coalition said they had sent a letter to management with over 12,000 signatures calling for the removal of Zecharia Deustch, an Associate Chaplain at the university who travelled to Israel to serve as a reservist in the Israeli army.

Universities around the world have launched protest encampments to demand divestment from Israel linked companies and partnerships.

The protests first started at Columbia University in the US on 17 April, and have since spread to Mexico, Australia, Greece and France, among other countries.

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