Uni arms itself against critics

Oxford’s investment in aims manufacturing is in the spotlight again this week as the committee responsible for reviewing the issue has released a report defending its recommendations as adhering to “national policy.”

The report, composed by the University’s Socially Responsible Investment Committee, recommends that Oxford continue to invest in arms companies such as BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin, so long as those companies do not produce weapons which violate UK and UN protocols.

Stephen Nickell, the Committee’s chairman, rejected the notion that all weapons manufacturing is wrong and argued that weapons are necessary to ensure the public’s safety.

“It is true that arms can be used to kill, but they can also be used to defend. When making a recommendation, we had to make one that would appeal to the members of the University. The argument that all aims investment is bad is a minority view,” Nickell said.

The recommendation has come under fire from Oxford’s Anti-War Action group, which has accused the SRI Committee of ignoring ethical issues in favor of financial gain.

“The committee side-stepped the ethical implications of funding arms companies, and dodged the real questions. [The report] didn’t go far enough in speaking out against arms investment,” said Cetta Mainwaring, a member of the group.

Mainwaring said that although the University may not be directly funding companies^ which support violence abroad, it is hard to tell where the money is going and to prevent arms from getting in the hands of the wrong people.

May 2010
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