Divest From Weapons Manufacturers, War Crimes, and Fossil Fuels

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Education is a right- of this there can be no doubt. Students across Canada have been mobilizing in a targeted campaign for free education and debt forgiveness for over a year. We understand that this goal will not be achieved overnight; however, university administrators must recognize that the current tuition framework in Ontario places a tremendous financial burden on students. Student fees accounted for 46.7% of the University of Windsor’s revenue for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, or $165,548,000 of a $354,372,000 operating revenue, making it the single most lucrative source of revenue for the university.

When students are contributing such a significant portion of the university’s revenue, we have a right to know where that money is going. Revenue from student fees is placed in investment holdings to which the university’s endowment fund is tied. This fund comes from our money and contributes to our scholarships and services, yet the University of Windsor does not make its investment holdings public knowledge. This is particularly concerning given a global trend of university endowment funds being tied to investments in weapons manufacturers and fossil fuel companies.

Senate Bylaw 33 states: “The University reaffirms that students shall continue to participate in the formulation and application of institutional policy affecting academic and student affairs.” The university’s endowment fund holdings fund campus operations as well as scholarships, which play a role in students’ academic affairs and day-to-day experience- we have a right to know where revenue from our tuition is being held, and we have the right to demand that our scholarships and services are not being funded by investments in unethical corporations. The average University of Windsor student pays approximately $28,000 for a four-year degree; international students pay up to four times this much. As long as students are paying backbreaking tuition fees, we believe it is not too much to ask that those fees are not financing destruction of human life and of environmental stability.

Therefore, we are demanding that the Board of Governors publish a list of all of their investment holdings at the beginning of each fiscal year; furthermore, we are demanding that the Board of Governors divest all endowment fund holdings from weapons manufacturers, fossil fuel companies, and any other companies complicit in war crimes as per the definition of such crimes given by the United Nations in Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. We are demanding that the Board forgo any new investments in all such companies beginning at the start of the 2018-2019 fiscal year, and that the Board divest fully from all such companies by the beginning of the 2022-2023 fiscal year.