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.