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Support UCL students\' vote to end military recruitment at their students union!

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Students at University College London voted to pass a motion to stop their students\' union\'s continued support for military recruitment by excluding recruiters from the Territorial Army, including the Officer Training Corp, University Royal Navy Units and University of London Air Squadron, from UCL Union\'s freshers\' fair. These external organisations were previously given more space than the Union\'s own student run societies. The policy was reached democratically by a direct vote of UCL students in attendance at the Union\'s annual general meeting on March 5th 2008. This set off a wave of national media attention, appearing on the front page of the Evening Standard on March 7th, and in the Times, the Telegraph, the Independent, the Sun, the Daily Mail, the BBC, and elsewhere on March 8th. Students at UCL who voted to end their Union\'s support for military recruitment saw the inconsistency in campaigning to stop the war on the one hand and allowing recruiters to set up stalls in their student run events to recruit more people to fight and die in it. To continue to allow military recruitment at Union run freshers fairs would appear to be an implied endorsement of the wars they ultimately recruit people to fight in. This democratic decision by UCL students was made so that their Union would not be seen to give material and political support for the illegal and immoral wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by giving privileged space to external military recruiters at its events. The motion does not prevent any UCL student from joining the Officer Training Corp or the military, and it does not apply to the whole of UCL\'s campus only to UCL Students\' Union. Students\' unions are representative, democratic membership organisations and as such their members have the right to decide what outside organisations they want to be associated with and grant a platform in their space. Rightwing tabloids like the Sun and Daily Mail have tried to smear UCLs\' anti-war students by linking them to the scandal in Peterborough, where military staff have been advised against wearing their uniforms in public due to harassment, and the media has widely misrepresented UCL Unions\' motion as banning the Officer Training Corps altogether rather than simply disaffiliating itself from it. The Unions\' policy and the students who voted for it are not against the soldiers, they\'re against the war and occupation and believe that the best way to support British troops is to bring them home rather than encourage more people to sign up to die overseas. The armed forces have been let down by the government in being sent into these wars with no clear mission and strategy, under-equipped and with little care for returning soldiers suffering from horrific injuries, depression and post-traumatic stress. The best way to serve our armed forces is to demand for them to be brought home immediately. Student anti-war activists at UCL have been personally targeted in the backlash by the war supporters, many of whom have gone so far as to make racist and xenophobic slurs against students at UCL. Hateful blogs, facebook groups and message boards have been used to try to intimidate and coerce students at UCL as part of an effort to reverse the student\'s Union\'s political progress. These methods must not be allowed to succeed in undermining students\' right to democratic self-organisation. We the undersigned support UCL Union\'s policy of non-association with military recruiters and the UCL students who voted to pass it.


UCL Students\' Union Stop the War Society

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