We are occupying Charles Stewart House, the university’s financial building, a year on from the ten day sit-in which secured a partial divestment resulting in the removal of investments from coal and tar sands.
Since the occupation last May, and a further blockade of the finance building and one day camp-out outside principal Tim O’Shea’s office this term, the university has further reduced its investments in oil and gas companies, dropping by almost half between November and now. Last week, student campaigners were informed that the university was no longer invested in any companies involved directly in the manufacture of armaments, following a redistribution of investments into the Global Alpha Choice fund. Despite these dramatic reductions, Edinburgh University is yet to make any form of announcement regarding its apparent shifts in its position on ethical investment.
We will end the occupation when the university makes a public commitment to never invest in any companies taking over 5% profit from fossil fuel extraction and arms manufacture, and to withdraw its remaining two oil and gas investments, Apache Inc. and EOG Resources, which stand at just over two million pounds.
Since last year, nineteen UK universities have made commitments to fossil fuel divestment. The ethical investment campaign at Edinburgh is in its fifth year. It’s high time Edinburgh University lives up to its claims of socially responsibility and sustainability and joins the growing number of institutions divesting from destruction.