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By Megan Crockett, News Editor
A campaign to be launched by two London School of Economics (LSE) postgraduate students, Aysha al-Fekaiki and Noelie Audi-Dor, calls into the question the School’s commitment to ethical investments. The campaign alleges that the School’s Ethics Code has been ‘streamlined’ in a series of meetings subject to confidentiality agreements where paragraphs S2.6 on its commitment to human rights, S2.2 on anti-bribery, S2.3 on restricting parental and student donations as well as changing its dedication to sustainability were edited out or watered down.
The campaign is putting forward a motion on the topic, suggesting that “This Union believes the new Ethics Code is legally insufficient due to its simplification for LSE’s ethical and sustainable standards and values” also, “[the] confidentiality contracts which bind members of the Ethics Policy Committee is not a transparent process and dangerous to the reputation of the School”. Another claim being made by the campaign is that “the new guidance document which is to be taken with the 2014 Ethics Code, is not legally binding and therefore permits LSE’s Ethical Policy Committee to allow investments into unethical and unsustainable funds”.
The LSE bolstered its Ethics Code in the wake of the 2012 Gaddafi scandal and Woolf Report, yet the campaign alleges that the Ethical Policy Committee has diluted the binding clauses regarding investments made by the School. The streamlined Ethics Policy, the campaign suggests, tacitly permits investments in companies that formerly may have been prohibited because of human rights, bribery or sustainability concerns. The School does have a “programme of anti-bribery training” with over one hundred staff receiving the training in 2014, in addition to UK legislative obligations.
Stephanie Allison, LSE Ethics Manager, told the Beaver “The Ethics Code continues to reflect the School’s commitment to a broad range of human behaviours including human rights, anti-bribery and anti-corruption. They remain an integral part of the Code, are included in policies referred in the Code and are embedded in separate guidance being developed that links to the School’s six core principles … (former LSESU General Secretary) Jay Stoll also sat on the review group, giving the opportunity for student views to be fed into the process. Further consultation took place with student representatives through the School’s Court and Academic Board. In addition an open meeting was held with students which was publicised widely by the SU”.