Ethical Victory for Student Led Campaign
University investment in arms companies and companies unconcerned with the environmental outcomes of their activities is set to end, the Vice-Chancellor has confirmed.
The announcement is a major victory for student protestors who have been campaigning for a commitment to ethical investments in recent months. In future the university have pledged that they will assess potential investments against more rigorous ethical guidelines.
Gilbert admitted that although plans to change investment policy were in the pipelines, the student campaign to pressure ethical investment, led by students Ellie Messham and Tom Skinner, encouraged them to act quickly to implement the changes.
The campaign included two stunts where students lay in front of buildings pretending to be dead. They also hosted talks on the investment policy, wearing t-shirts covered in blood.
At a meeting with key figures in the campaign against investment in companies associated with the arms trade recently, Vice-Chancellor Alan Gilbert made a series of commitments about its investments.
A draft of The University’s new Ethical Investment Policy stated:
“The University of Manchester has explicitly committed itself to embracing and advocating the moral responsibility of all staff and students to contribute as educated, informed, tolerant citizens to the enrichment of social and cultural life and to the advancement of human well-being in their own communities and around the world.”
The University will use its best endeavors to ensure that it does not invest in companies who are directly involved in armament sales, and also seek to persuade companies that it does intend to operate in a more socially and environmentally responsible manner.
Katie Whitehouse, Women’s Officer at The University of Manchester’s Student Union, who was heavily involved in the student protest, told Student Direct that she is “pleased that The University if listening to the voice of the student body and adjusting its policy accordingly. This is a great victory for student led initiatives.”
After the success of this campaign, Amnesty International UK have urged students in Manchester to join hundreds of other Amnesty supporters on 10 May at the House of Commons to lobby MPs to support the call for tough controls on the global arms trade. To find out more, call 020 7033 1777 or visit http://www.amnesty.org.uk.