UVic president clarifies investments in light of demands and ongoing encampment

UVic president clarifies investments in light of demands and ongoing encampment
File photo of the encampment on May 5, 2024.

On the 10th day of a student encampment on the University of Victoria (UVic) campus, the university’s president is clarifying information on the school’s investments.

An encampment was started at UVic on May 1, following similar encampments at other schools across the U.S. and Canada, and called for the university to divest from companies that “contribute to and benefit from violence against Palestinians,” Kevin Hall, the president said in the statement.

READ PREVIOUS: Protesters set up pro-Palestine camps at UVic, VIU

Specifically, the protesters called on the university to divest from BlackRock and Scotiabank, as well as Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems Canada, which the university leases space to.

In a statement released on Friday, Hall says he wanted to share information on UVic’s investments, but says the university won’t agree to demands or ultimatums.

“We are committed to open and constructive dialogue; however, the university cannot agree to demands or ultimatums from any group,” Hall says in his statement.

“In January 2020, the Board of Governors approved an updated Responsible Investment Policy that was focused on how the university could take meaningful steps to address climate change within its investment portfolio. The policy changes reflected feedback from a comprehensive consultation process that included students, faculty, staff, the UVSS, GSS and interested stakeholders such as Divest UVic.”

In regards to the BlackRock investment, Hall says the investment is actually in the BlackRock Global Renewable Power Fund III, which invests in solar and wind renewable power generation projects.

Additionally, he says this is a closed fund, so once the investment is made the investment is locked in until “the fund winds up.”

The encampment’s Instagram page, PeoplesParkUVic, says it calls on UVic to divest from BlackRock because it has major investments in Israel and major weapons companies that are making profits by making weapons used in Gaza.

Hall says Thyssenkrupp has a lease with the university for five years through UVic Properties, which manages the Vancouver Island Technology Park.

The encampment’s Instagram post says Thyssenkrupp builds submarines and warships for the Israeli Offense Forces.

In regards to the call to divest from Scotiabank, Hall says UVic no longer owns a Scotiabank bond.

RELATED: Man allegedly assaults UVic pro-Palestinian protesters, police investigating

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!