Army recruiters on campus were sabotaged when a list of potential recruits’ names was stolen.
The recruiters noticed the list had gone missing shortly after anti-war students had been handing out leaflets at the annual GradFair careers event.
The incident at the fair, which attracted over a thousand people, highlighted the unpopularity of military careers among Sussex students as it was revealed that just twelve had signed up to receive more information from the army.
The university, anticipating the possibility of protests, had situated the army in a separate room from the rest of the fair where they were guarded by university security. They were joined by Thales, one of the world’s biggest arms manufacturers and Procter & Gamble, which has been targeted by animal rights protesters for testing cosmetics on animals.
Police were called to the scene when anti-war students tried to hand out leaflets urging their colleagues not to work for the companies. The students were told to leave the students’ union building where the fair had been taking place.
The leafleters complained to student union officials, who agreed that they should not be barred just for handing out leaflets. After the students’ union intervened, the anti war students were allowed back in to the fair.
A short time later the army recruiters noticed the list of names and contact details was missing.
A university spokesman accused the anti-war students of stealing the list. Defending the original decision not to allow them into the fair, he said the University had acted in accordance with an ethical policy for careers fairs, which was drawn up with the students’ union protest in 2006 and states “The right to express freedom of thought, religion or belief must be balanced against actions that may amount to harassment or discrimination.”
He added, “We deplore the small-minded and intolerant actions of a small number of individuals who have sought to disrupt the normal activities of the University and infringe the rights and freedoms of more than 1,000 students who attended GradFair.
“They were allowed into the fair on the understanding that they would not disrupt the event or harass our students or employers. It is extremely regrettable that some of them let us down by breaking that understanding.
“Pending the outcome of any police investigations, the University would have no hesitation in taking appropriate disciplinary action, if the individual concerned is identified as a Sussex student.”
The students’ union and the University called for the person responsible to return the list.