Should Universities profit from murder and toxic pollutants?
Students at UFL are on hunger strike to push administrators to invest the University's Endowment, $1.2 billion, in Socially Responsible Investments. SRIs screen companies for bad behavior, such as union-busting, polluting, and making weapons.
765 Universities in the U.S. hold collective endowments topping $340 billion. Florida's endowment is the first domino in this chain. These students have enormous potential to curb corporate bad behavior, but it hasn't reached critical mass yet. A victory in Florida will likely launch a chain reaction at other Universities. Eleven members of the Students for a Democratic society are on hunger strike until that reaction ignites
Harvard's endowment alone topped $30 billion this year. A billion here and $30 billion there, pretty soon you're talking real money.
Kossacks have the critical mass to ignite this reaction. I know this is a little off topic for Kos, but it's the best thing you'll do all month. Please pitch in and put the blogosfire to good use! Call Bernie today.
To get a sense of the lunacy, consider the example of the Pew Charitable Trusts Paradox from The Nation
Mark Dowie, author of American Foundations: An Investigative History, said the Pew Charitable Trusts, "the largest environmental grant maker of all the foundations, was earning more money in dividends from the nation's largest polluters than they were giving to the environmental movement."
Our nation's Universities, through their endowments, have considerable influence over the market. This is a smart, sensible strategy. And students are not asking the administration to invest in feel good junk either. They have requested the University adopt a transparent investment policy so students, faculty and alumni can educate themselves.
The administration has stonewalled them for a year. I blogged about this yesterday, if you want more info, read this. Or just make the call.
SDS students want us to call the University President, Bernie Machen. Ask him if he thinks it's okay for universities to profit from war, environmental destruction, and human rights abuses:
Phone: (352) 392-1311
Fax: (352) 392-9506
Office of the President, 226 Tigert Hall, PO Box 113150,
Gainesville, FL 32611
Other administrators you can talk to:
Student Body President: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office of Sustainability Director Dedee DeLongpre: email@example.com, (352) 392-1336
Ask them to publicly declare their support for the hunger strikers and their SRI proposal.
Sign the SDS petition