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Glasgow University reported to charity regulator over arms investments


The complaint comes ahead of a vote on divestment next week.

The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians has sent a complaint to the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) regarding the University of Glasgow’s investments in arms companies. 

The complaint comes days before the university formally votes on divestment of arms companies, which will take place on June 18, 2024.

The latest development comes following a notice issued to Glasgow University, alongside 81 other British universities, on April 30. This alerted the university of the potential risk of criminal liability over any investments held in both arms companies and companies operating in Israeli settlements. 

The initial notice informed the university that profiting off investments made in companies supplying weapons to a military that uses them in the commission of war crimes may be a criminal offence. 

It also informed them that the University of Glasgow officers’ risk prosecution in the United Kingdom or elsewhere for doing so.

Following the notice, a formal complaint was then submitted in May against Trinity College Cambridge. 

The complaint was issued to the Charity Commission, the English and Welsh equivalent of OSCR. 

Within a week of ICJP issuing the complaint, Trinity College had announced its decision to divest from arms companies.

This latest decision is the first time ICJP has issued a formal complaint to a charity regulator for an entire university, rather than a constituent college of a university. 

The complaint comes alongside a wave of mounting grassroots student pressure against Glasgow University for their investment policies, ahead of a formal vote on divestment on June 18. 

ICJP senior legal officer Dania Abul Haj said: “This money is paid to Glasgow University by the students, and yet their voice is being totally disregarded in how it is being immorally invested.

“From BAE Systems to Barclays, companies that Glasgow University reportedly invest in are not only potentially complicit in Israel’s latest assault on Gaza, but they have a track record of providing equipment that has been used in home demolitions, the illegal Israeli separation wall in the West Bank and around Jerusalem, and other tools of apartheid. 

“Investment in these companies was already morally bankrupt, but in the current circumstances, it is beyond belief that universities, which are educational institutions, paving the way for future generations of leaders and politicians, would continue to invest in them.”

In April 2024, Glasgow University students voted en masse to elect Palestinian-British war surgeon Professor Ghassan Abu Sittah as their new Rector. 

Professor Ghassan worked in Gaza during Israel’s genocide, in order to treat Palestinian patients.

A University spokesperson said: "The University of Glasgow was the first HE institution - and still one of only a few - to call for the immediate release of all hostages and a humanitarian ceasefire.

"Following a petition last semester, the University set up a working group chaired by a lay member of Court (the University’s governing body) to consider the issue of divestment in the defence sector and related matters.

"This group has reported to Court, which is expected to make an annoucement this month.

"Working with institutions in the Middle East, we are actively considering what more we can do to support those affected by the conflict."



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