On Saturday February 7, 2009 the Board of Trustees approved the proposal to divest from companies affiliated with Israel’s military actions in Palestine. The motion was set forth by the student group Students for Justice in Palestine. Hampshire is the first college in the United States to cut its financial ties to Israel’s armed forces and activities in Gaza, making the divestment a significant event in the history of the school. The decision was made at the recommendation of the Subcommittee on Investment Responsibility (CHOIR), and after the continuous pressure from Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). Minute notes from the meeting state “President Hexter acknowledged that it was the good work of SJP that had brought the issue to the attention of the committee.” . . . . The motion for divestment pulls Hampshire finances from six corporations: Caterpillar, General Electric, International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT), Terex, Motorola, and United Technologies, all of which supply the Israeli armed forces.
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Brian Van Slyke, a spokesperson for SJP noted “We, the Students for Justice in Palestine, have proven that student activists can organize and put pressure on their college to divest from Israel’s illegal occupation. By becoming the first college in the United States to divest, Hampshire continues its legacy of standing up for social justice and against apartheid.
Statement of Clarification from Sigmund Roos (73F), chair of the board of trustees, Ralph Hexter, president, and Aaron Berman, vice president and dean of faculty, regarding trustees' actions on college investments
We write to correct numerous reports circulating about actions taken by the Hampshire College board of trustees on February 7, 2009. The facts are as follows:
- On February 7, 2009, the Hampshire College board of trustees accepted the report of its investment committee, which earlier had voted, without reference to any country or political movement, to transfer assets held in a State Street fund to another fund.
- Based on a comprehensive review of the fund by the trustee investment committee, administrators and an outside consultant, the college found that this fund held stocks in well over 200 companies engaged in business practices that violate the college's policy on socially responsible investments. These violations include: unfair labor practices, environmental abuse, military weapons manufacturing, and unsafe workplace settings.
- The review also led the board of trustees to vote to revise its 1994 socially responsible investment policy to bring it up-to-date with current standards and practices, and, pending revision, to suspend that policy.
- The review of the State Street fund was undertaken at the request of a sub-committee of the investment committee, to address a petition from a student group, Students for Justice in Palestine. The investment committee's decision, however, was based on the consultant's finding that the State Street fund included 200-plus companies engaged in multiple violations of the college's investment policy; the decision expressly did not pertain to a political movement or single out businesses active in a specific region or country.
- No other report or interpretation of the actions of February 7, 2009 by the Hampshire College board of trustees is accurate.
Do not act as if you have already delivered the head of the Khazar kagan.