York University Divestment Committee

Duration: Late 1985 - 1987
Location: Toronto, Canada

The York University Divestment Committee was established toward the end of 1985. The York Student Movement Against Apartheid initiated the organization of this committee, which was composed of representatives from the York student movement, the York University Faculty Association, the York University Staff Association, and the Canadian Union of Educational Employees (representing part-time teaching faculty) and supported by other smaller unions on campus. The committee was inspired by the Canada-wide efforts of the African National Congress (ANC) and other liberation movements that worked to isolate the minority government in South Africa and to support the people of South Africa to free themselves. The Divestment Committee undertook a campaign to have the university divest itself of all investments in South Africa. Though the university administration did not divest itself from the all-university pension fund, the committee’s campaign was partially successful when the university divested itself of investments in Endowment and Operating funds. The university administration also issued a public statement condemning apartheid in South Africa. The committee ceased its activities in 1987, but activists who had been involved with this campaign continued to be involved with the struggle against apartheid. (Source: Gene Desfor and David Himbara, former members of the York University Divestment Committee; "Walter Sisulu Honored At York University", Southern Africa REPORT, Vol. 1, No. 2, October 1985; and "Divestment at York University, The Student - Trade Union Alliance" by Gene Desfor, Southern Africa REPORT, Vol. 1, No. 4, February 1986.)