OU partnership with arms dealers Raytheon

OU partnership with arms dealers Raytheon

The proposed military training academy at St Athan will be built and run by a consortium which includes major multinational arms companies, and will train not only British service personnel, but those from any regime or private military company that can fork out the ready cash. This consortium includes the Open University and we call on them to withdraw.

The campaign against the proposed military academy at St Athan is also concerned about the impact the partnership such as Raytheon , arms dealers have on international peace and conflict. We want a public debate in Wales regarding the democratic deficit within the Open University on the decision to enter into the Metrix Consortium. The OU is accused of giving this consortium and the proposed privatised training a veneer of respectability.

As part of the National Day of Action for University Ethical Investment on Wednesday 27th Feb coordinated events were being held at universities across the UK, campaign protesters gathered outside the OU Offices in Cardiff. Mr Rob Humphreys, the Director of the Open University in Wales cam out to talk to us. He declined to take up a position on behalf of the Open University or one which defined his personal stance. He said that ethics were matters for individuals and as far as the Open University was concerned no formal policy had been determined. However, the Open University on its website states "Our continued dedication to social justice and equality of opportunity is embodied in a set of commitments and principles. Through these commitments, we will strengthen our position as a university of choice."

Anne Greagsby coordinator of the campaign against the privatised military academy at St Athan said, "As a graduate from the open university I am shocked that they could work with and profit from arms dealers such as Raytheon associated with cluster munitions and Serco and Qinetiq.

Mr Rob Humphreys, the Director of the OU in Wales told us that he hadn’t heard of the Study War No More report, Military Involvement in UK Universities is a joint project between Campaign Against Arms Trade and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. You can download the report on the website which exposes the ways in which the military sector is being pushed into UK universities - www.studywarnomore.org.uk

The Director Mr Humphries statement

"In meeting those taking part in the demonstration outside The Open University in Wales offices, I listened to the points they made and outlined the University's involvement in the Metrix consortium, which is overseeing the St Athan project.

"The University recognises that Britain's armed services play a vital part in peacekeeping activities all over the world and that it is important that service personnel receive the best education possible for these demanding roles. As a partner in the consortium, The Open University is committed to delivering the highest possible quality of support to this endeavour.

"Since its inception, the University has helped more than 100,000 Services personnel and their families fulfil their potential through education. Participation in the St Athan project will help us to continue that work."

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