OU Committee To Consider Socially Responsible Practices

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A new Ohio University committee is going to examine the potential presence of certain minerals in the university's purchases, such as computers, phones and other electronic devices. 

The first task of the the Committee on Socially Responsible Practices is to research a concern brought up by a group of students. 
The group – Conflict-Free Campus Initiative – is requesting that the university adopt a statement that Ohio University is a "conflict-free campus". 
This relates to the potential presence of what are referred to as "conflict minerals" in products the university purchases – particularly minerals sourced from terrorist-controlled mines in the Congo. 
"There is some evidence to suggest that terrorist groups are using the sale of these minerals to finance their operations," said John Biancamano, Committee Chair and OU chief legal counsel. 
Biancamano says one of the most important questions is how to find out the exact source of the minerals.  
"I think that's one of the things we want to look into and to the extent that that information can be obtained the university would take a position on this," said Biancamano.
Ohio University student Ellie Hamrick is the president of Conflict-Free Campus Initiative. 
In the last two years, the group contacted the university's administration several times, asking for support in their fight against the use of conflict minerals. 
"We're proud to see the formation of the committee, we're very excited to work with it, moving forward," said Hamrick. "We think it's too little too late but if it lives up to its mission and does in fact hold the administration to socially responsible practices, I think it will be a huge victory – not only for people of the Congo but also for Ohio University."
The committee is made up of 12 representatives from faculty, administration, staff, students and the Ohio University Foundation. 
After researching the management of the university's resources, the group will provide recommendations to the university's president.