The Coventry Telegraph ran a second-page article on our occupation of S0.21. I feel it really got our aims across well, and was very sympathetic, but it ended with a slightly upsetting quote from the University.
The University has, up til an hour or so ago, said they are ill-equipped to respond to our demands due to the VC being ill and other factors. Peter Dunn, “our” Press and Media Relations Manager, seemed to find time to write three paragraphs about the futility of our attempts. The language he used we find misleading, and so we feel the need to set the record straight.
Firstly, Mr Dunn implied that there were only 14 of us in the room, willy-nilly issuing demands to the university. This is just plain false – a number of our talks last night had arond 60 attendants, with 141 signing into the room. The implication that we are a small vanguard fighting against the student populace doesn’t hold.
Secondly, there was a veiled implication in the second section – that there are at least a thousand students in favour of some of the companies we have come out against in Demand 1. This is a leap of logic – Paul Dunn first posits that around 1050 students attended the last careers fair where “some of the companies” we have come out against were present. He then says that this implies that around 1000 students want to be employed by those companies we have mentioned, and they have to balance this need with our demands. There are quite a few flaws in this line of argument!
- It is assumed that attending a careers fair containing these companies means you are actively supporting the companies we have come out against. This is patently absurd regardless of quantifiers, as attending a careers fair in no way implies your support for all companies present – many students have previously thanked anti-arms trade protesters for revealing what are otherwise unknown facts about secretive companies
- Even falling back on numbers, their argument falls down. Even assuming that attending a careers fair is an action of definitive support for all present companies, and that numbers present is representative of support for said companies, only two of the companies present (of the 34 attendant) at the last careers fair were arms companies supplying Israel – one was Rolls Royce, another was Detica (a BAE part-subsidiary). That means that about 60 people, by their logic, support the attendance of such companies – a failure, even on their own terms
I hope that the university sees this as a call to enter negotiations – if they can such drastically misrepresent our aims and what we are standing for, then that is all the more reason to enter some constructive engagement. Solidarity!