York U committee calls for divestment from arms manufacturers

An image of Vari Hall on a summer day with the caption, "This Is Divestment [from weapons and fossil fuels]"TORONTO, March 14, 2018 /CNW/ – The York University Advisory Committee on Responsible Investment (YUACRI) has submitted to York's administration a report that recommends the University divest from arms manufacturers. YUACRI was established in 2012 to integrate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) considerations into investment management processes and ownership practices concerning York's $413 million endowment fund.

Since October 2016, YUACRI has closely examined two major proposals. The first was developed by YU Divest, a broad coalition of York students and alumni, and calls for divestment from five arms manufacturers based on their complicity in human rights abuses around the world. The second was developed by Fossil Free York, and calls for divestment from companies involved in the extraction, processing and transport of fossil fuels based on their direct contribution to climate change.

In February and March 2017, YUACRI endorsed both divestment proposals. Its recent report represents YUACRI's formal recommendation for divestment from arms manufacturers.

"This is truly an historic moment for York," says Richard Wellen, president of the York University Faculty Association (YUFA). "The University is now poised to align its investment practices with its institutional values of sustainability, social justice, equity and good governance. The Board of Governors should implement this recommendation as soon as possible."

If York's Board of Governors endorses YUACRI's recommendation, York would become the first North American university to divest from arms manufacturers.

"We congratulate YUACRI for its leadership in promoting human rights at all levels of the University," says Rawan Habib, president of the York Federation of Students (YFS). "We sincerely hope the administration will embrace this opportunity to demonstrate York’s commitment to its founding principles."

YUACRI is currently preparing a separate report about the proposal to divest from fossil fuels, and plans to submit it to the administration in the coming months.

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This post originally appeared as a media release on Canada News Wire. Read the release here.