Decision also Prohibits Future Investments in Tobacco
TORONTO, April 9 /CNW/ - After more than a year of petitioning and
deliberation, the University of Toronto will be the first institution of
higher education in Canada to divest from the tobacco industry, paving the way
for others to follow. For the members of E-BUTT (Education-Bringing Youth
Tobacco Truths), a student group at U of T, the decision marks a positive end
to a long journey.
"It is an amazing feeling to see all of our efforts over the past year
come together and lead to the right decision," said Tyler Ward, University of
Toronto student and president of E-BUTT. "U of T president David Naylor made
the right decision by not only divesting, but also prohibiting future
investments in the tobacco industry, whose products kill more than 50 per cent
of long-term users and harm the health of countless others."
U of T joins Ivy League university Harvard, as well as Stanford and
Johns Hopkins, becoming the 24th institution of higher education in North
America to divest its tobacco holdings. According to Naylor, the fact that
"there is no serious academic or social debate about tobacco's health
effects," along with the position taken on this issue by sister institutions,
partner institutions and countries around the world helped him decide to
accept E-BUTT's proposal.
"Against that background, our continued investment in tobacco companies
was arguably something of a proverbial elephant in the room," continued
Naylor. "It was our students - led by E-BUTT - who decided their university,
the University of Toronto, should take a leadership position on this issue."
UTAM (University of Toronto Asset Management) has been instructed by
Naylor to begin the divestment process immediately. As of December 31, 2005,
U of T held approximately $10.5-million of tobacco industry stock, with
investments in Japan Tobacco ($4.6 million), Altria Group Inc. ($4.5-million)
and Rothmans Inc. ($1.4-million).
For further information: Tyler Ward, (416) 912-7079,