LSE’s Director Howard Davies is himself no stranger to arms-related controversy. He has direct experience in dealing with arms as a former director of GKN from 1989 to 1995, a UK-based firm that makes components for military aircraft. During his time there, GKN made several lucrative deals with General Suharto in Indonesia for armaments later used against civilians in East Timor. Davies did not veto the sale.
In Autumn 2006, the LSESU Green Party successfully passed a Union resolution condemning LSE’s receipt of academic grants from high profile arms companies. The motion also mandated that the LSESU lobby the School to refrain from investing in arms companies and to adopt an ethical investment policy. The Greens also supported another successful motion which aimed to force the LSE to divest from companies that are operating in Sudan in response to the human rights abuses that are occurring in Darfur. Student activists are now calling for the LSE to reconnect with it’s progressive past and denounce any funding and investment in the arms trade.
LSE Students’ Union (LSESU) Environment and Ethics Officer, Aled Dilwyn Fisher (1), also Male Co-Chair of the LSESU Green Party stated: “The CAAT report makes it clearer than ever that LSE is in bed with major arms companies, making a mockery of its historic commitment to social justice. It is entirely hypocritical for a university to host a world renowned Centre for the Study of Human Rights whilst accepting funding from companies that profit from the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians across the world. I urge the School to put into place an ethical framework to prohibit funding from arms companies as well as a comprehensive Socially Responsible Investment policy”
Another member of the LSESU Green Party, and LSESU Womens’ Officer, Daisy Mitchell-Forster said, “Every penny that LSE receives from arms companies is tainted with the blood of innocent civilians. It is a disgrace that research into poverty, climate change and human rights is under-funded whilst increasing the efficiency and profit of arms companies is endlessly bankrolled by military companies and the UK government. LSE should take a firm stance against facilitating such research.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
1. Aled Dilwyn Fisher is the Green Party candidate for the North East London Greater London Assembly Constituency in May 2008