In recently released minutes, it was revealed that University Court, in June, have decided that they do not want to divest from the arms trade. This goes against the position of a large segment of the student population, many of whom are QMU members. We have been informed that the University’s investments in the arms trade have actually increased since this time last year. Having already released a statement this year, it is frustrating to see this blatant disregard for those in the university who have been asking the University to reconsider their commitments to this deadly segment of UK business. The increase in investments, gives us little optimism that the University will confront its relationship with the arms trade proactively.
At the QMU, we are disappointed by the contradiction of the University taking a proactive and commendable position on Black Lives Matter, even establishing a race equality group, while investing in and doing research projects with companies who are developing the technology which creates some of the largest race divides in the world. BAE Systems and Thales, companies the University invests in, are directly exporting to the racist US police forces which the University claims to oppose. Recently, the University pledged to become a ‘Sanctuary University’, increasing the number of refugees and asylum seekers in higher education. Surely, it is hypocritical and unsustainable to support both this pledge and an industry that contributes to the 70.8million people displaced by conflict and persecution. The University must decide whether they are making a meaningful commitment to deeply held values or if they are only concerned with good publicity.
We are members of the University community, and as a part of that we represent and hope to be represented by this community. This decision is not only a complete rejection of the demands of a majority of students, by strengthening ties with the arms trade, the University has entrenched its position further.
We have been impressed by the University’s award-winning commitment to make reparations for past wrongs and encourage the University to take positive action to avoid addressing this retrospectively in the decades to come.