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A service for global professionals · Wednesday, December 19, 2018 · 471,562,964 Articles · 3+ Million Readers

Board of Governors Fails YorkU Community, Ignores Call for Weapons Divestment

/EIN News/ -- Toronto, Ontario, Oct. 09, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- On Tuesday October 2, the York University Board of Governors voted to continue investing in arms manufacturers and other harmful industries, including fossil fuels and tobacco, through the adoption of revisions to its Statement of Investment Policies and Procedures.


This decision, taken without community consultation, goes against York University’s stated commitment to social justice and to invest sustainably and responsibly, according to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) guidelines.

This decision was made despite a substantial March 2018 report, authored by the University’s own Advisory Committee on Responsible Investment (YUACRI), that recommends that the University accept the demands of the YU Divest campaign.

The YU Divest campaign calls on the York University administration to stop investing its endowment fund, which produces student scholarships and bursaries, in five of the world’s most notorious weapons companies.

YUACRI passed a motion in February 2017 endorsing YU Divest’s demands, and a month later, the Committee was unilaterally suspended by the Vice President Finance & Administration pending an investigation that the University administration never carried out.

The Board’s Investment Committee presents weapons divestment as based in passion as opposed to reason. The Board thus demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of socially responsible investment strategies, and fails to engage with any of the content, arguments, or evidence presented by the YU Divest Coalition and YUACRI.

The argument for divestment is based on adherence to the University’s own governing documents, a comprehensive understanding of fiduciary duty, extensive evidence on the social and environmental harm caused by arms manufacturers, and considerable documentation from internationally recognized human rights monitoring organizations.

Instead of choosing divestment, the Board has opted to spout overused platitudes of "best practices", demonstrating an abject failure of innovation and leadership, and putting the University's reputation in further decline.

It is now up to the York community, which has stood firmly behind the YU Divest campaign since its inception in 2014, to work to ensure that the University stops investing in arms companies complicit in war crimes and human rights violations that have impacted not only millions of people around the world, but also York students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families.

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Rawan Habib
                    Canadian Federation of Students / Fédération canadienne des étudiant-e-s

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