THE University of York has ceased investment in companies that primarily sell weapons, defence products and fossil fuels.

The university revealed its new responsible investment commitments on April 29 - following calls from members of its community.

Made in partnership with the students' union, the university said its investments were now aligned with the United Nations' sustainable development goals.

Areas which the university no longer invests in include tobacco, gambling, adult entertainment, fossil fuels, mining, weapons and defence.

The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor Charlie Jeffery, said: "I'm very proud York has evolved our investment strategy in this way, in line with our values as a university for public good. 

"Our students in particular have raised their concerns about responsible investment and corporate links to armaments and defence, and they have rightly and passionately challenged us to rethink our approach."

Pierrick Roger, Students' Union President from 2022 to 2024, added: "This issue is so important to our students.


"The university has not only listened, but has constructively involved us to ensure their new approach addresses our concerns. For a university that prides itself on its values, divesting from these destructive industries is a key step towards taking these responsibilities more seriously."

In response to the news, a member of York Action for Student Solidarity (YASS), who wished to remain anonymous, said: "Students are pleased to finally hear that the University of York has decided to divest from arms companies, following their announcement of divestment from fossil fuel companies in 2019, and we are proud to be part of one of the first universities in the UK to commit to both of these."

Despite praising the move, the YASS member explained that they are not yet confident that the university has completely moved on from such companies.

They added: "It is important to note the wording of their responsible investment statement, which is that they have cut ties with companies whose 'primary' investment is arms/fossil fuels.

"This means that the university is still comfortable with investing in companies that profit from the arms industry, as long as that is not those companies’ largest source of income.

"As well as this, we believe the university still has extensive research partnerships and other financial ties with the arms and fossil fuel industries, and therefore students will continue to mobilise around these causes until the university commits to full, true divestment."