Thursday, 14 June 2007

UCL Provost comes clean on investment following Disarm UCL campaign

UCL students, staff and alumni have welcomed UCL Provost Malcolm Grant’s support for adopting an ethical investment policy. The Provost in yesterday’s UCL Council meeting agreed that it was time for UCL to invest its money ethically. The announcement follows a dynamic and broadly-based campaign, which called on UCL to divest from its’ £ 900,000 worth of shares in arms trader Cobham plc. Over 1200 UCL students, staff and alumni have signed a petition in support of the Disarm UCL campaign.

Environment and Ethics UCL Student Union officer Joyce Ngai said:

“We are delighted with the wise decision that the UCL Provost and the UCL Council have taken. Ethical investment is the future. UCL has proven itself to be a truly global and innovative leader. We believe this ground-breaking move will be an inspiration to other universities to take the issue of ethical investment seriously."

UCL student and campaigner Jonny Mears said:

“Selling the shares in arms trader Cobham must be UCL’s priority now. A future ethical investment policy must exclude investment in arms companies. We will monitor the progress on this issue closely. We hope that our fellow students around the UK will take heart from this fantastic result here at UCL, and push for clean investment at their own university.”

Please comment here on Disarm UCL campaign success !

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Global university without a global conscience

The New Statesman website has today published a comment piece on UCL's investment in arms companies prior to the UCL Council meeting tomorrow.

Quite a few people have left comments and have called on the UCL Council to support an ethical investment policy for UCL.

Join the debate: Read and comment here.


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

Students go to war against uni's arms company funding

Anyone seen the article in the Camden New Journal from last Thursday (7 June). ?

In case you've missed it here's how it starts:

"Furious students have criticised their university for using their fees to "fund murder" and line the pockets of wealthy arms companies.

Camouflaged campaigners wearing mortarboards and wielding toy guns stormed the main quad of University College London last week to protest against university bosses' ongoing decision to fund Cobham Plc, an arms company that supplies weapons parts to conflicts in the Middle East. (...)"

pretty cool, eh ?

Friday, 1 June 2007

1,000 UCL students tell provost to ditch arms shares

UCL Provost Malcolm Grant was yesterday presented with a petition signed by over1,000 UCL staff and students calling on him to sell UCL’s shares in an arms company. The provost also received a hand-signed copy of a book by UCL alumnus Richard Wilson, in which he describes how his sister died as a result of thearms trade.

Richard Wilson is just one of the UCL graduates who has given his backing to Disarm UCL, which calls for the College to divest from arms trader Cobham plc and to adopt an ethical investment policy. Malcolm Grant now has the chance to read Richard’s account of his sister Charlotte’s death at the hands of a militia in Burundi. Her killers told her that she was dying because of “the white people supplying the weapons in Africa”.

Richard Wilson said:“By handing this company over £ 900, 000 with which to do business, UCL is making itself complicit in that business, and its impact on the world. In producing components for military aircraft which are then sold to some of the most depraved regimes on the planet, Cobham is as responsible for the deaths that result as the people who produced the bullets that killed my sister.”

UCL student and campaigner Ed Hood said:“There is no reason at all to invest in business that kills. Financially UCLwould do equally well if it were to invest in ethical business. UCL prides itself to be a global university. We want a global university to show a global conscience.”

After meeting the provost student and alumni campaigners protested in UCL’s main quad dressed in camouflage uniforms, with toy guns in their hands and mortarboards on their heads.