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Surrey Students Vote To Boycott Oil, Gas, Mining And Arms Recruitment

Published on: 30 May, 2022
Updated on: 2 Jun, 2022

By Hugh Coakley

Students at the University of Surrey have voted to boycott all fossil fuel and arms industry recruitment at the university.

Members of the campaign group, People and Planet, at the stag sculpture on the University of Surrey campus.

A spokesperson for the student Surrey People & Planet campaign group, who had proposed motions at the Students’ Union Annual Members meeting, said it had been “passed decisively” despite initial opposition by the Students Union itself which had initially “urged members to vote against the proposal”.

The spokesperson said the union will now refuse to allow fossil fuel or arms industry recruiters access to digital or physical spaces under its control and to support the call  for the University of Surrey Careers Service to implement an Ethical Careers Policy which explicitly excludes fossil fuel and arms companies from recruitment opportunities.

Lucy Field, president at Surrey People & Planet said: “It’s fantastic that Surrey students have backed our campaign and voted for both of our motions to kick fossil fuel and arms companies out of the Surrey careers department.”

Fergus Green, climate campaigns coordinator at People & Planet, said: “Winning this victory at Surrey, a university with closely documented links to both the arms and fossil fuel industry, shows that from now on there is no university which is a safe space for fossil fuel or arms industry recruiters.”

Similar policies have passed recently at the University of Bristol, Edinburgh, Sussex, and Sheffield Students’ Unions. These have been coordinated by the student campaigning charity People & Planet, which is running the national Fossil Free Careers campaign.

The Students’ Union President, Ajay Ajimobi said: “These motions were both passed at our Annual Members’ Meeting, and we are working on their implementation. We are seeking a response from the university on the issues raised in both motions. The society mentioned in the article is now dormant, but we will continue to work with the individuals who proposed these motions.”

A University of Surrey spokesperson said: “The University of Surrey makes the employability of our graduates a top priority. On average 94 per cent of our graduates over the last three years were found to be in work or further study fifteen months after they graduated.

“We welcome many employers across a diverse array of sectors to Surrey to talk to our students about their future career options. We have an ethical careers policy in place which underpins our commitment to impartiality, transparency and sustainability.

“We are committed to integrating sustainability in all of our programmes as part of the curriculum design review by the end of 2023-24. Our vision is that every student will leave Surrey understanding the sustainability impact of their chosen career path and what they can do to mitigate this.”

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