Students have voted to ban all military personnel including cadets from a leading London university
The Evening Standard
7 March 2008
The snub was delivered at a students' union meeting which condemned the "British military" for waging "an aggressive war overseas".
The union motion, passed on Wednesday night, prohibits the military from setting up recruitment stalls at freshers' fairs and severs all links between the Officer Training Corps and the students' union at University College London.
The decision will add further fuel to a growing row over the treatment of military personnel in Britain. It emerged today that servicemen and women at RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire had been ordered not to wear their uniform in public after months of verbal attacks in nearby Peterborough.
Leading politicians today described the ban as deeply insulting and misguided. Gordon Brown today spoke of his outrage that British servicemen could be treated with so little respect. He said: "I condemn absolutely any members of the public who show abuse or discrimination to our armed forces."
The UCL motion, proposed by Sham Rajyaguru, stated: "This Union believes that because the British military under the Labour Government is currently engaged in an aggressive war overseas, for the Union to use its resources to encourage students to join the military or participate in military recruitment activities at this time would give political and material support to the war." The resolution was passed by around 80 to 50 votes.
Patrick Mercer, a former infantry commander and a Tory MP, said today: "These students are deeply misguided. They are insulting the men and women who fight for their freedom and the democratic rights of our society."
A spokesman for UCL Union accused a group of "hard core", Left-wing students of orchestrating the vote. "It's quite a silly thing," he admitted.
Up to half of British officers are recruited through university-based military organisations, such as the OTC.
The move at UCL follows similar motions passed recently by students at Goldsmiths and LSE, both part of the University of London.