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Militarising Universities

There are two types of military recruitment going on in British universities 

One is the physical recruitment of people's bodies into the armed forces. The second is the recruitment of a much larger number of minds to believe that militarism is acceptable and that the armed forces are unquestionably beneficial. 

The University Officer Training Corps (UOTC) are explicit in saying that one of their aims is to ensure that graduates who go on to work in business or politics are "minded to act as positive advocates for the army". 

In addition to the UOTC and similar organisations, the armed forces themselves often run recruitment stands at events such as university recruitment fairs and freshers' fairs. In February 2020, students at Cambridge University voted against allowing military recruitment at freshers' fayres. 

The same is true of arms companies, whose links with universities present violence, warfare and arms deals wrongly treat them as if they were a natural part of everyday life. The arms industry’s major links with UK universities have been met by large numbers of student protests in recent years. For example, beginning in October 2023, numerous protests have been held at Bristol University against the University’s links with arms dealers selling arms to Israel. 

The Peace Pledge Union supports students campaigning against the presence of armed forces and arms companies at universities. If you're campaigning against militarism in your own university, or want support or advice in doing so, please drop us a line at