A letter from the Disarm UCL campaign was published last Thursday (7 June) in the Independent - Higher Education Supplement (p. 2):
"As the first year of top-up fees comes to an end, many universities are describing students as consumers. Unfortunately, they do not always realise that students are amongst Britain's most ethical consumers. In this regard, the focus of University College London (UCL) leaves much to be desired.
Over 1,200 UCL students, staff and alumni last week called on UCL Provost Malcolm Grant to divest over £ 900,000 worth of shares in the arms trader Cobham PLC and to adopt an ethical investment policy. In a meeting with campaigners, Grant refused genuinely to engage with the question of divestment from Cobham.
As consumers we want some influence on where our money goes. According to the Financial Times in 2005, the Church of England's ethical fund, which rules out the arms trade, performed second best out of 1,000 funds surveyed.
As students, staff and alumni, we want UCL to have a good name. We don’t believe that the arms shares, which constitute only about 1% of UCLs overall investment, are worth the damage to UCL’s reputation.
As people, we want our global university to have a global conscience."
Richard Wilson and Sara Hall
Disarm UCL campaign