Editor’s Letter, Situation 4 – ‘£2,352,563 of Investments’ and Why That’s £2,352,563 Too A lot

Pricey readers,

This week, I’m going to divert from my ordinary tactic of chatting absolute nonsense to deal with a reasonably extra severe problem. Apologies to any followers awaiting a sly dig at my predecessor, Reece Parker, however I really feel like stooping to the extent of hyperbolic name-calling would undermine the tone I’m hoping to convey on this letter particularly. Tune in subsequent week the place I’ll proceed to tug Reece’s title by way of the filth with the kind of shameless frivolity that solely the state of being finest associates can afford.

Should you’re studying this, then you will have heard the information that an Open Letter to the Vice Chancellor has accused the College of Leeds of investing £2,352,563 in corporations which have alleged hyperlinks to the implementation of human rights abuses in opposition to Palestinians. It’s, doubtless, an unsettling thought that the college you selected to check at might have performed a component, nevertheless massive or small, in funding the loss of life of one other human being. It’s an much more troubling thought {that a} proportion of these investments might have come from the £27,000+ price of tuition charges you could or might not have so liberally chucked at this college, and which you will or is probably not meaning to pay again your loans for.

What makes this example so completely complicated and messy is that it’s all very oblique and shrouded within the quicksand-esque political context that allegations which contain the State of Israel inevitably convey. Though it’s public data that the College of Leeds invests in HSBC, Airbus, United Applied sciences Company and Keyence Company – 4 corporations that may be linked to the implementation of human rights abuses in opposition to Palestinians – we should do not forget that who and what an organization chooses to fund with the income from the investments it receives is just not the choice of the College of Leeds. Nevertheless, it’s the accountability of the College of Leeds to have in mind precisely the place their investments ultimately find yourself, and to overview whether or not or not they consider it moral to probably finance the loss of life of one other human being. Claiming ignorance or a passive position on this scenario isn’t actually adequate.

The precarious problem which the Open Letter balances upon, that of the ‘Israeli-Palestinian Battle’, is a troublesome one, to say the very, very least – I’m conscious of the problematic nature of referring to the problem as a ‘battle’, however since that is how it’s broadly recognised by the mainstream media, that’s how I’ll discuss with it. It’s a posh world of clandestine international coverage that requires an unbelievable stage of nuance and consciousness to debate with even the smallest slither of success. And, being remarkably much less versed within the problem than I needs to be by now, I’m removed from the one to supply any kind of prophetic remark or salvific answer. That being stated, no matter your view on the Israeli-Palestinian Battle and the place any notion of blame or decision lies, I feel we will all agree that our College shouldn’t be pumping cash into corporations which have any allegeable involvement in armed conflicts, whether or not in Gaza, Myanmar, Iraq, Darfur, Afghanistan, Syria or another a part of the world. With that in thoughts, the College ought to use this chance raised by LUU Palestine Solidarity Group to additionally process itself with reassessing the moral concerns of ALL of its investments.


Whereas the College of Leeds has a accountability to think about the moral ramifications of its investments and I, as Editor-in-Chief of the coed newspaper, have a accountability for holding these investments to account, I even have a accountability for guaranteeing that the Gryphon represents and speaks on behalf of its total scholar physique. I’m conscious that criticisms of the actions of the State of Israel are inextricably intertwined with problems with antisemitism, and that it may be a reasonably sudden and slippery slope from making an attempt to report the info to unintentionally fuelling the rhetoric of antisemitism that appears to be rising around the globe. The horrific homicide of 11 Jewish folks on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh on Saturday 27th October is a harrowing reminder that anti-Semitism stays an actual menace and a curse on society, because it all the time has been. That is with out mentioning the truth that anti-Semitic incidents within the UK reached an all-time excessive final 12 months. There is no such thing as a place for anti-Semitism in at this time’s age; there isn’t a place for any expression of hate or prejudice in any of its many kinds, and we have now to watch out that the information tales we flow into don’t lead to any scholar feeling uncomfortable or unwelcome on the College of Leeds. I can acknowledge that many college students might understandably take problem with specific components of PSG’s Open Letter, however I sincerely hope that no matter occurs as a consequence of its publication is a productive and open dialogue that doesn’t descend into the suffocating partisan politics that these items so usually do.

I’ve signed the letter on behalf of myself as a person, however I’ve not signed it on behalf of the Gryphon, as different LUU societies have finished. As a society which is made up of from a variety of scholars, every with their very own political, moral and ethical viewpoints, I might not really feel comfy in unquestionably assuming their settlement with my line of argument. Moreover, by signing the letter, I’m not aligning myself with any pre-determined stance on the Israeli-Palestinian Battle. I’m signing as a result of I consider that the investments uncovered within the Open Letter are inconsistent with the College’s coverage of considering “social, environmental and moral concerns within the choice, retention and realisation of investments”, and since I consider that the College ought to subsequently both overview its investments, or overview its ‘Coverage on Socially Accountable Funding’ altogether.

“Our college shouldn’t allow navy occupation. Our tuition charges shouldn’t fund killing. Our schooling shouldn’t be on the expense of an individual’s life.” These are the highly effective phrases with which PSG conclude their letter. Irregardless of our personal political views, and on the threat of depoliticizing maybe probably the most urgent worldwide problem of the fashionable period, if we view these phrases objectively and never by way of the blinkered lens of their context, then it’s exhausting to argue on the contrary. I might encourage anybody studying this, whether or not you’re a member of the Gryphon or not, to learn the Open Letter in full. Whether or not you agree with its contents and select to signal and whether or not you disagree with its contents and select to not, by studying the letter you might be participating within the debate and opening your self as much as a productive dialogue.

The College of Leeds prides itself on being an area which represents and addresses the considerations of all of its scholar inhabitants – now could be the time for it to show it.

Yours sincerely,

Robbie Cairns


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