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Editorial & Opinion

Brown University responds to divestment vote



I’m writing about the piece posted yesterday regarding recommendations for divestment at Brown. I see that the author is noted as Brown Divest but it’s labeled as news (not opinion or commentary) [Editor’s note: This was an oversight and has been corrected] so I’m writing to point out some factual inaccuracies and (in other cases) clarifications:

  1. A more accurate headline would be to state that the committee voted “to recommend divestment” since this is an advisory committee. There has been no Brown University vote or decision or action to divest.
  2. The paragraph that begins with “After the motion to vote was made…” includes the phrase “the University committee responsible for divestment.” ACCRIP is advisory to the president of Brown. It’s charge is very much to consider issues of ethical and moral responsibility in the investment policies of the University — so certainly it would be fair to say that the committee is responsible for making recommendations on divestment. However, the committee is not directly responsible for divestment decisions. Rather, it would recommend to the president and Brown’s governing body that the University divest.
  3. The same paragraph says “ACCRIP made Brown the first Ivy League University to officially call for divestment from companies…” This is factually inaccurate. There has been no Brown University vote or decision or action to divest. This was a vote by a committee on campus, not a decision to proceed with divestment. Again, completely fair if it’s attributed to the committee — that’s just distinct from a University decision to proceed.

Brian E Clark
Assistant Vice President for News and Editorial Development / University Spokesperson
Brown University