UK universities own £15 million in arms shares
The UK's universities own shares in the arms trade worth over £15 million, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
45 universities and university colleges have admitted that they own shares in at least one top arms company. Three institutions - UCL, Trinity College Cambridge and the University of Liverpool - each hold arms shares worth over £1 million.
However, the research by Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) also reveals the success of local campaigns against trading in arms. The University of Wales, Bangor and the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) have sold their arms shares following pressure from students and staff.
The Universities of St Andrew's and Manchester are both developing ethical investment policies in consultation with students.
Researchers at Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) asked for details of investments in several top arms companies, including BAE Systems, Rolls Royce and the Smiths Group, which have been involved in the supply of weapons to oppressive regimes.
The 45 institutions who admit to holding such shares include nine Oxford colleges, seven Cambridge colleges and twelve of the nineteen institutions which belong to the Russell Group of elite universities. In addition, 33 institutions refused to provide the information, meaning that total figures could be even higher.
Tim Street, Co-ordinator of the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) Universities Network said: "It is inexcusable for an institution based on learning and progress to fund a trade that fuels war and perpetuates poverty. Alternative investments are financially beneficial as well as ethically clean. In the last year, students from London to Bangor have taken on the arms companies and won. We are confident that students and university staff will be successful in campaigning for clean investment at many more universities throughout the UK."
Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) works for the reduction and ultimate abolition of the international arms trade.
The ten universities and university colleges with the highest confirmed value of arms investments are as follows:
University College, London (UCL) - £1,591,627
Trinity College, Cambridge - £1,252,000
University of Liverpool - £1,215,000
Nuffield College, Oxford - £920,000
King's College, London - £903,550
New College, Oxford - £850,670
St Hilda's College, Oxford - £823,555
University of Hull - £745,192
University of York - 618,923
University of Manchester - £575,640