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Azoulay, Goldman ScM’19, Karp, Murphy, Schapira MFA’06: Faculty and staff should join hunger striking students in calling for divestment

Editor’s Note: The authors are faculty and staff members of Brown Academics for Justice in Palestine, a coalition of faculty and staff across various Brown departments.

As members of Brown Academics for Justice in Palestine, we stand in solidarity with the students hunger striking to demand that Brown divest its endowment from companies that enable and profit from the genocide in Gaza and the broader Israeli occupation. We support students’ demands for President Paxson and Chancellor Mencoff to include a divestment resolution on the agenda of the Brown Corporation’s Feb. 8-9 meeting and to permit representatives chosen by the strikers to present the case for divestment to the corporation.

 Moreover, upon the fulfillment of those demands, we call for the corporation to publicly commit to conduct a formal vote on this resolution as a full body in the presence of these student representatives.

As we continue to build on and contribute to these students' efforts to hold Brown accountable for its material complicity in these acts, we call on our colleagues and co-workers to do the same. 

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The students’ demonstration of nonviolent protest is consistent with both First Amendment rights and academic freedom and we share their desire for and commitment to an immediate ceasefire and a lasting peace. As members of the Brown community, standing in solidarity with students, we firmly condemn any use of invested funds to materially support genocide and war crimes against the people of Palestine. We express our highest gratitude for the leadership of students who have woven historical context, critical engagement with the Brown community and their deep empathy for the people of Palestine. As fellow members of the Brown community, we must match their courage and leadership and identify ways to build and contribute to student efforts, while acknowledging the varying barriers of university, employment and student policy we face in our actions. 

We continue to repudiate retaliatory actions from outside the university (such as doxxing, harassment, attacks by non-community members and calls to dismiss faculty, staff or administrators without cause) that are hostile to its mission. However, we maintain that the striking Brown students’ actions are consistent with the university’s values and with the critical thinking, informed principles and ethical action with which we wish our students to meet the world; we owe it not just to them but to the people of Palestine to be guided by their example. The destruction of Palestinian life, safety and basic human rights horrifies us to the core. 


Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Jackie Goldman ScM’19, Aaron Karp, Connor Murphy and Kate Schapira MFA’06 can be reached at ariella_azoulay@brown.edu, jacqueline_goldman1@brown.edu, aaron_karp@brown.edu, connor_murphy@brown.edu and kate_schapira@brown.edu. Please send responses to this opinion to letters@browndailyherald.com and other op-eds to opinions@browndailyherald.com

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