Brown University committee votes to divest from companies “facilitating human rights violations in Palestine”The Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies voted 6-2-1 in favor of divestment. On December 2nd, 2019, the Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (ACCRIP) voted in favor of divestment from companies “facilitating human rights violations in Palestine.” The committee voted six in favor, with two alumni voting no, and one abstaining from the vote. The
Published on December 2, 2019
By Brown Divest
The Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies voted 6-2-1 in favor of divestment.
On December 2nd, 2019, the Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (ACCRIP) voted in favor of divestment from companies “facilitating human rights violations in Palestine.” The committee voted six in favor, with two alumni voting no, and one abstaining from the vote.
The vote comes after eight months of deliberation, starting in April 2019, when 69 percent of voters in a Brown undergraduate referendum voted in favor of the same motion. In response to Brown University President Christina Paxson’s dismissal of student concerns the day following the vote, over 100 faculty members authored a letter in favor of the student referendum. Since then, members of Brown Divest have presented to ACCRIP on multiple occasions, as have Brown Students for Israel.
On December 2nd, nine members of ACCRIP met at Brown University, and heard presentations from faculty opposed to divestment, as well as those in favor. After the presentations, a motion was put forth to vote on whether the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories constitutes social harm. Seven members voted yes, while two alumni abstained. At the end of the meeting, members of the committee motioned to vote on the following language:
“We recommend that the Brown Corporation exclude from Brown’s direct investments, and require Brown’s separate account investment managers to exclude from their direct investments, companies identified as facilitating human rights violations in Palestine. In addition, the Investment Office will share with all investment managers the University’s desire to adhere to this investment philosophy. We recommend that the Corporation and Brown’s separate account investment managers maintain the withdrawal of investments from said companies until they cease to engage in social harm…”
After the motion to vote was made, two alumni voiced concerns about the ‘lack of time’ to deliberate. Sarah Cunningham ‘06 was appointed by President Paxson only weeks before this meeting, and David Mueller ‘81 has been on the committee for six years, and was part of the deliberations when Palestinian human rights violations were discussed in 2013-2014 and in 2017. Eventually, the motion to vote was accepted, and the resolution passed. We are elated that the University committee responsible for divestment has finally joined the calls for divestment from human rights violations in Palestine. Today, ACCRIP made Brown the first Ivy League University to officially call for divestment from companies that are facilitating the Occupation and its human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza. We look forward to other universities joining the movement for dignity and human rights for Palestinians.
Going forward, the Brown community expects the Brown Corporation to divest from companies facilitating human rights violations in Palestine, as demanded by Brown students, who voted for the University to divest, as has ACCRIP, the committee responsible for recommending University divestment. Companies that have been identified for divestment based on their involvement in social harm in Palestine include Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, Oaktree Capital Management, AB Volvo, Motorola, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, United Technologies, and G4S.
[From a press release]
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