Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hampshire Divestment

Hampshire College Students and Official Argue Over Divestment Decision

A dispute has emerged between officials at Hampshire College and student organizers over the school’s recent decision to divest from a mutual fund run by State Street Global Advisors. Activists with the group Students for Justice in Palestine said the move came after it had pressured Hampshire’s Board of Trustees to divest from six companies that provide the Israeli military with equipment and services in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza. Hampshire College officials admit they reviewed the State Street fund after receiving a petition from the group, but the school said the divestment decision “did not pertain to a political movement or single out businesses active in a specific region or country.” The trustees said they divested from the fund after learning the fund held stocks in more than 200 companies engaged in business practices that violated the college’s policy on "socially responsible investments.” The six companies that formed the basis of the student group’s complaints were Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, Motorola and Terex. Students for Justice in Palestine are hailing the divestment decision as a major victory. They say Hampshire has become the first college in the country to break financial ties with companies specifically because they do business with Israel. In 1977, Hampshire became the first college in the nation to divest its South African holdings.

from DemocracyNow.org

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