Queen’s forms Review Committee for Responsible Investing following encampment protests

The encampment at Richardson Hall on Queen’s University campus, where protesters demanded the university disclose investments to and divest from companies that “profit from Israeli apartheid.” Photo by Liv Hudel.

Queen’s University has established a Review Committee for Responsible Investing following a protest held on campus last month, which resulted in a 12-day encampment occupying the outdoor area behind Richardson and Dunning Halls.

The planned protest on May 10 and 11 at the University evolved into a small encampment, as activists pressured the university to “divest from companies that facilitate Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.” Protest leaders — Queen’s University Apartheid Divest (QUAD) — demanded that Queen’s divest from “all companies and institutions that have upheld and continue to uphold the 76 years of Israeli settler colonial occupation, apartheid, and violence.” 

Queen’s University told Kingstonist that QUAD, a campus community group, followed the procedure (Responsible Investing Procedure 2) to request the Board examine divestment from specific companies conducting business in or with the State of Israel. According to Julie Brown, Media Relations Manager for the university, they submitted that request on Friday, May 10, 2024.

Procedure 2 outlines a process for members of the university community to submit a written case for a proposed action through the University Secretariat. Brown noted that the submission must be accompanied by a petition of at least 200 individual signatures, with a minimum of 20 signatures from each of faculty, staff, students, alumni, and retirees.

“It was determined the submission had met the criteria for submission required by the procedure, and a process to strike a committee was initiated. That process is now underway,” she stated.

As part of the process, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane established this Review Committee to consider the request.

“We are fortunate to have an established policy and structured procedures that enable a thoughtful, detailed, and consultative review of our university’s investments,” said Principal Deane. “The review committee has been established and will commence its work over the summer months; we are committed to transparency as the review committee advances its work.”

According to the university, the review committee’s membership has been selected following the process detailed in the Responsible Investing Policy and it includes a designated mix of members of the Board of Trustees as specified within Procedure 2 (Special Requests), along with members of the university selected to consider the matter in a fair and objective manner.

The review committee is reportedly tasked with examining the special request and making recommendations to the Principal. Queen’s said that as part of this process, the review committee will arrange for a delegation of the campus group that submitted the request to present it for further consideration and coordinate additional consultations to ensure the committee considers the full range of perspectives and views from across the campus community. 

This work will begin this summer and conclude during the next academic year. This timeline will ensure due process and permit opportunities for comprehensive consultations with all interested parties, balanced with the desire for an expeditious resolution on this matter, Queen’s noted.

According to the university, once the committee provides its recommendations and delivers its report to the Principal, the report will be sent to the Board of Trustees’ Investment Committee. Final approval of any recommendation rests with the Board of Trustees. As part of the policy, recommendations of the review committee, along with the rationale, will be publicly reported by the university.

Kingstonist has made multiple attempts to communicate with Queen’s University Apartheid Divest (QUAD) for a number of weeks with no response.

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