Student, Universities and Guns

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The sequence of the title usually means bloodshed and tragedy such as the columbine massacre.

Disarm-UCL-graduation1-470x352

 

 

This case is more shocking and surprisingly  makes sense why the fees have gone up. Several Universities in London were found  to be connection with investments in Arm firms. We reported about  Comic Reliefs scandal last month and how it was involved in really unethical enterprises.

Ten of the London’s Universities have holdings in defence companies. Does that then mean that student are indirectly financing defence companies ? could this be the reason why the pay rises for Vice Chancellors for  have gone up to  £ 22 thousand a year? while the regular staff only received one percent. A peculiar situation. Are Vice -Chancellor turning into investment bankers ?

“profit from death”. Imperial College has most invested in the industry, with direct holdings in four defence manufacturers totalling £3.9m.

It has £1.75m worth of shares in General Electric, which supplies “systems and technologies” for combat aircraft, military transport, helicopters and drones. It has a £922,000 stake in Inmarsat, a self-proclaimed “valued and trusted partner of the US defense community”, and £489,000 of holdings in Texas Instruments, which produces technologies for “critical aerospace and military applications”.

The college also has £753,000 invested in Rolls Royce, a producer of engines for military aircraft and drones whose largest customer is the US Department of Defense.

The University of London (UoL) owns 161,000 shares – worth £698,000 at the time of writing – in BAE Systems. The arms giant produces drones, torpedoes, artillery and Typhoon fighter jets. In addition, the university has 10,000 shares in United Technologies Corporation, who make missile guidance and actuation systems. At the time of writing, these were valued at £685,000.

The Institute of Education (IoE) has stakes in the same two defence companies. Its 44,300 shares in BAE Systems are worth £192,000, and its 3,000 shares in United Technologies are worth £205,000.

University College London (UCL) has 22,752 shares in United Technologies, worth around £1.54m, despite divesting from arms companies in 2009. It agreed to dispose of the last of its defence investments, a £440,000 stake in the arms company Cobham, after pressure from campaign group DisarmUCL.

Sir Malcolm Grant, UCL’s provost at the time, explained the change in policy by saying: “I want to satisfy committee and council that, while we are getting a good return on investment, we are not making the world a worse place.”

Through investment funds, King’s College London (KCL) and London Southbank University have holdings in General Electric of £97,000 and £1,600 respectively. The London School of Economics (LSE) has an indirect stake in the company and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has a direct investment, but neither revealed the value of these holdings.

“Universities are directly benefiting the arms trade… they profit from death”

– Holly-Rae Smith, Campaign Against Arms Trade

The Royal Academy of Music (RAM) has a £74,000 stake in the aerospace and defence industry through one fund. It also has £6,400 invested in Transdigm, which produces monitoring and sensor systems for military aircraft, through another fund.

Queen Mary has a financial stake, the size of which was not disclosed, in Texas Instruments.

Heythrop College did not respond to London Student’s request to release its investment portfolio, while the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) declined to do so because it “would, or would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of ICR or any third party.” The Royal Veterinary College could not provide details of its portfolio because they were switching funds.

Holly-Rae Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said it was wrong for universities to invest in arms companies because “they profit from death”. She added that by investing, “Universities are directly benefiting the arms trade.”

She also complained: “Quite often, students have no say in what their university invests in. It’s quite secretive. Student’s tuition fees end up invested in companies they consider unethical.”

Smith explained it was sometimes difficult to even get universities to consider divesting from arms companies, claiming: “I emailed UCL several times about its ethical investment policy. They just won’t reply.”

Imperial College refused to comment on its £3.9m holdings in arms manufacturers.

Asked whether UoL’s investments in BAE Systems and United Technologies were ethical, a university spokesperson declined to respond either way, instead choosing to say they were “acceptable”.

The spokesperson pointed out that both companies “are involved in the production of a wide range of products outside those associated with defence”. They added: “The university recognises that there is an ethical dimension to any investment portfolio, but has to balance this against the likely financial return”.

An IoE spokesperson said the institute “has a responsible investment policy” which “does not specifically exclude investments in companies which produce armaments.”

A UCL spokesperson referred London Student to its investment policy, whose “guiding principle… is to generate funds”. The policy states that the university would not invest in a business deemed unethical by its Ethical Investment Review Committee provided doing so does not “run the risk of significant detriment to UCL’s investment capital fund”.

A KCL spokesperson pointed out that, while the university has indirect holdings, it “has no direct investments in Aerospace or Defence companies.”

An LSE spokesperson said “The School is concerned to conduct investment management in a socially responsible and ethical manner”. SOAS said it avoided investing in companies whose military-related exposure exceeds 10% of turnover.

A RAM spokesperson said while the academy “may have a small indirect exposure to companies involved in the manufacture of armaments”, it “has a carefully thought out ethical investment policy”.

London Southbank University declined to comment.

A Queen Mary spokesperson said the university’s portfolio “has to meet the criteria of our ethical investment policy,” and added: “Investment in Texas Instruments reflects just 0.6 per cent of our entire investment portfolio.”

which critics argue “profit from death”. Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act suggest their combined stake in the controversial industry exceeds £7.4m.

Imperial College has most invested in the industry, with direct holdings in four defence manufacturers totalling £3.9m.

It has £1.75m worth of shares in General Electric, which supplies “systems and technologies” for combat aircraft, military transport, helicopters and drones. It has a £922,000 stake in Inmarsat, a self-proclaimed “valued and trusted partner of the US defense community”, and £489,000 of holdings in Texas Instruments, which produces technologies for “critical aerospace and military applications”.

The college also has £753,000 invested in Rolls Royce, a producer of engines for military aircraft and drones whose largest customer is the US Department of Defense.

The University of London (UoL) owns 161,000 shares – worth £698,000 at the time of writing – in BAE Systems. The arms giant produces drones, torpedoes, artillery and Typhoon fighter jets. In addition, the university has 10,000 shares in United Technologies Corporation, who make missile guidance and actuation systems. At the time of writing, these were valued at £685,000.

The Institute of Education (IoE) has stakes in the same two defence companies. Its 44,300 shares in BAE Systems are worth £192,000, and its 3,000 shares in United Technologies are worth £205,000.

University College London (UCL) has 22,752 shares in United Technologies, worth around £1.54m, despite divesting from arms companies in 2009. It agreed to dispose of the last of its defence investments, a £440,000 stake in the arms company Cobham, after pressure from campaign group DisarmUCL.

Sir Malcolm Grant, UCL’s provost at the time, explained the change in policy by saying: “I want to satisfy committee and council that, while we are getting a good return on investment, we are not making the world a worse place.”

Through investment funds, King’s College London (KCL) and London Southbank University have holdings in General Electric of £97,000 and £1,600 respectively. The London School of Economics (LSE) has an indirect stake in the company and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) has a direct investment, but neither revealed the value of these holdings.

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