Students Unions have joined 796 signatories to demand that the education sector break their links with companies who uphold colonialism and imperialism.
The open letter, which was also signed by Members of Parliament, student officers, and supporters from the wider public, called for universities and colleges to stop investing in and partnering with fossil fuel and arms companies. Instead, signatories demand that money should be reallocated to fund anti-racist initiatives.
As well as investments, links between education institutions and colonial companies often include universities platforming companies during career fairs and tailoring courses and research to secure funding.
Before hand-delivering the letter to Universities UK alongside NUS UK Vice-President for Higher Education Hillary Gyebi-Ababio, NUS UK President Larissa Kennedy commented:
“We cannot continue the colonial function of our education institutions being directly complicit in colonial violence when it comes to the arms trade and fossil fuel companies, so we are here to tell Universities UK: absolutely no more. Divest to decolonise.”
Commenting on the open letter, J Clarke, Co-Director: Climate Justice at People & Planet, said:
“It is fantastic to see students and Student Unions continue a long history of standing in solidarity for justice on an international scale. With an unfolding climate crisis and war on every headline, it is now more important than ever that universities sever their ties to the corporations most responsible for climate and social injustice.
“We are proud to work alongside NUS and many others in calling for divestment from the fossil fuel and weapons industry as the first step in playing an active role in a more just and equitable society”.
Michelle Francis, a 22-year-old student at Bangor University commented:
“Students are unknowingly being forced to fund companies which uphold oppression, simply because we want to learn. Our tuition fees and rent are forcing us to use foodbanks, and for what? So our universities can maximise their profits and invest our money into industries directly responsible for irreversible climate damage and arms companies funding ongoing genocides”.