SUO Letter to UBC Board of Governors

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SUO Letter to UBC Board of Governors

Dear Board of Governors Chair Nancy Mackenzie,

The SUO of UBC deeply values our membership’s feedback and representing over 12,000 diverse student voices comes with its own challenges. Despite this, we work exhaustively to try and balance the variety of perspectives along with our advocacy and fiduciary responsibilities.

One of our most valued forums for collecting this feedback is our Annual General Meeting which was held November 23rd, 2023. It is here where direct democracy takes place. We had many important discussions on policy, goals, our achievements, our shortcomings, as well as our position in the world as global citizens. UBC Okanagan is an international institution, and it is our responsibility to honour the privilege we hold in these critical leadership positions.

After a long and fruitful discussion, a filled room of our membership at the AGM has directed the SUO leadership to call on the Board of Governors to direct the UBC Endowment Fund to divest from any and all companies related to the perpetuation of Israeli settlements in Palestine. [1] In particular, these nine companies:

Motorola Inc.Bezeq the Israeli Telecommunications CorporationCaterpillar
General Mills Inc.Cellcom Israel LtdHewlett Packard
Partner Communications LtdBank Hapoalim BMLockheed Martin

The SUO has stepped up in recent years, having fully divested from all forms of oil and gas, tobacco, and any companies related to the military or weapons industry. It is our position that the university do the same with an emphasis on these nine companies as stakeholders in the Israeli settlements in Palestine.

We ask that the Board of Governors respond clearly and in writing so we can adequately disperse your response to our membership. Having more information from UBC can hopefully dispel these concerns. In honouring transparency to our membership, this correspondence will be made publicly available.

Thank you, The SUO of UBC Board of Directors

WHEREAS the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2234 has declared that Israeli settlements in the Palestinian Territories are a “flagrant violation of international law” and that they violate Palestinian human rights.

WHEREAS the United Nations has produced a database of companies which are wrongly contributing to the development of these illegal settlements.

AND WHEREAS the UN database includes six companies, shares of which are held by the University of British Columbia: Motorola Solutions Inc, General Mills Inc, Partner Communications Ltd, Bezeq the Israeli Telecommunication Corporation, Cellcom Israel Ltd, and Bank Hapoalim BM.

WHEREAS UBC also holds shares in three other companies that have been cited and documented by Investigate (produced by the American Friends Service Committee) and Canadians for Justice and Peace in The Middle East to be violating Palestinian human rights: Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, and Lockheed Martin.

AND WHEREAS UBC has a responsible investment policy and has signed onto the United Nations’ responsible investment program,

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the SUO will pen a letter to UBC and the Board of Governors to direct the UBC Endowment Fund to divest from the nine companies mentioned above, no later than one week after the 2023 AGM.

[1] See the adopted motion on the following page.