History of the CampaignEdit
In 2005 CAAT discovered, via the Freedom of Information Act, that the University of York had share holdings in BAE Systems. An article was printed in the student paper Nouse by a member of People & Planet, and the ethical investment campaign was launched.
Enacted by the motion, Union President Mickey Armstrong raised the issue with the Vice-Chancellor Brian Cantor but no progress was made. In March 2006 People & Planet sought the help of other societies to get the campaign moving.
At the start summer term plans were made for a petition and a large scale campaign on campus. Seperate meetings were held weekly with involvement from People & Planet, FreeSoc, Amnesty International Society, Student Action for Palestine, Speak and a number of independent students.
Articles were printed in York Vision ("You're Cantor Productive", 9th May) and Nouse (Student Outrage at Arms Shares, May 23rd) resulting in the letters being sent to the Vice-Chancellor. The next step was a mass day of action.
- The day was titled "No Share In Killing" and involved around 20 students posted all over campus all day collecting signatures for a petition asking for immediate divestment from arms companies and a commitment to a new ethical investment policy.
- Banners were hung along roads, bridges, off buildings and on notice boards.
- Information boards were posted at various points with headlines and posters.
- "Lord of War" was shown in the evening.
- A "Die In" protest involved around 30 people collapsing onto a central walkway at the busyest time of day (1 every minute for those dying globally from arms).
- After the 'die in' protestors moved on to Heslington Hall, the University's main administration building where they performed a 'rush die-in'. Petition signers appeased porters and the University's Registrar/Secretary agreed to hold a meeting with representatives from the group.
- 1000 signatures were collected.
More photos here.
Following day of action the Registrar/Secretary set up a working group to contruct an Ethical Investment Policy. The registrar has raised the issue with the Chancellor Greg Dyke, who was said to be supportive. The protest and campaign was reported in the local paper.
Since then the working group has been meeting to discuss construction of the policy. Currently the group is devising a proposal based around the work of St Andrews One World Society.
Initially the group was confident it could submit a proposal for Fincance Committee to approve before Christmas but progress has been hampered by involved students graduating and a general loss of momentum.
Sudan Raises the IssueEdit
- University of York has over £1.5 million shares in BAE Systems and £1.35 million in GKN (Sources: University of York, CAAT) through both its pension fund (which is administered by Shroders) and own holdings.
- As of March 2007, the University of York has no ethical investment policy.
- A student at York recently told me that the university has just managed to bring about an ethical investment policy, but that some feel its not particularly robust. - Jeff, Aberystwyth