The Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies released their official recommendation that the University divest from “any company that profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land,” according to the report published Monday. The recommendation was made to President Christina Paxson P’19 and the Corporation, the University’s highest governing body.
During a committee meeting Tuesday, the members discussed their criteria for selecting which specific companies to recommend the University divest from.
Student group Brown Divest published a press release calling ACCRIP’s recommendation “an important victory for our movement.” The group wrote that Paxson and the Corporation now have a choice about whether to divest or to “ignore students and continue to invest in companies causing severe social harm.”
ACCRIP Chair and Professor of Medical Science Chi-Ming Hai said the committee’s goal is not to tell the firms that handle the University’s investments how to divest, but rather to send out a second report to Paxson outlining ACCRIP’s criteria for divestment. Hai hopes that the University will “go back to this report to identify companies,” if they decide to pursue divestment.
The members of ACCRIP then discussed the United Nations Human Rights Council’s list of possible criteria for divestment. These criteria were outlined in a recent Council report containing a database of 112 companies found to be involved in “activities that raised particular human rights concerns” in the “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.” These activities include supplying “equipment and materials facilitating the construction and the expansion of settlements and the wall,” supplying “equipment for the demolition of housing and property” and providing “security services, equipment and materials to enterprises operating in settlements.”
Hai highlighted that divestment is still important, even if it has minimal impact. He suggested that divestment is a “negative approach” to the problem, and that instead of only divesting from companies which facilitate human rights abuses, the University could practice “positive investment” by investing in companies that make humanitarian impact.
Because of low attendance from committee members and the University community, ACCRIP did not make any definite decisions regarding their criteria for divesting. For the rest of the semester, the committee’s meetings will be held through Zoom due to concerns relating to COVID-19.
Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly stated that committee member Sara Cunningham ’06 said that ACCRIP should look at each of the companies on the UN’s list and decide if the University should divest from them on a case-by-case basis. In fact, Cunningham did not say that. The Herald regrets the error.