TWO Glasgow School of Art students commenced a hunger strike on Saturday, as part of the Divest Glasgow School of Art campaign.

The two women intend to continue the strike until their demand for the board to make a concrete commitment to divest from all fossil fuel and arms investments is met.

The hunger strike is the continuation of a campaign of direct action against Glasgow School of Art's investment policy.

It comes following a letter sent to the university on March 1 demanding divestment, on which the board has yet to act, the campaigners say.

The students say the strike signals the urgency of the issue, adding that they will not be ignored while their fees continue to fund some of the companies most responsible for the climate and humanitarian crises.

They said their university should be fighting to ensure their students’ future, and are instead profiting off of the destruction of it.

This, they say, makes Glasgow School of Art complicit in this emergency.

GSA’s most recent statement on socially responsible investment, from 2012, claims that it is “committed to investing its funds in organisations which adhere to the highest possible social, environmental and ethical standards".

Its most recent published investments show investments in JP Morgan, a fossil fuels financier, and Barclays, the largest global investor in the arms trade.

The campaigners say this is not justifiable by any environmental or ethical standards, and are demanding that GSA adheres to its word and stops profiting off of the exploitation of humanity and the environment.

Divest Glasgow School of Art, supported by members of other local groups, has informed the Glasgow School of Art board that Jasmin Roberts, 17, and Hannah Torrance Bright, 20, intend to go on hunger strike until their demands are met.

Over the course of the strike they will be present in spaces both in the university and around the city to inform members of the public about GSA’s investments, and why they are striking.

Bright said: “The fact that we as students have to resort to starving ourselves in order to be heard by our university breaks my heart but at this point we have no other option.

"The board has continually dismissed students’ cries for help over the crisis we are graduating into, and we cannot continue to be silenced knowing that our fees are contributing to the senseless destruction of life on earth.

"I am deeply afraid for the future, and our pleas have thus far been ignored by Glasgow School of Art.”

Roberts said: “I am studying in a system that is financing the destruction of my future.

"Glasgow School of Art is continuing to invest funds into fossil fuels and arms and continues to dismiss the demands for divestment.

"I do not think GSA has considered the urgency of our demands, as we have been continuously ignored. I do not want to be in this position but believe it’s the only way to get change to actually happen within Glasgow School of Art."

Professor Penny Macbeth, director of The Glasgow School of Art and Kristen Bennie, interim chair of the board of governors, issued a joint statement.

It said: “The issues raised by Hannah and Jasmin are important to everyone at the GSA. Following an ethical investment policy and making significant progress towards becoming a more sustainable organisation is something we are taking very seriously.   

“Over the past 12 months we have been reviewing our approach to ethical investment and will be tendering for new investment managers who will work with us to deliver our commitments on ethical and socially responsible investment. 

"We have invited Hannah and Jasmin to meet with us to discuss what we are doing and what more we could do, and hope they will reconsider their proposed hunger strike which is of course of significant concern to us all.”