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Brown Divest Coalition students present divestment proposal to five Corporation members

Students request one more presentation in October, list of non-voting Corporation members, secret ballot

The meeting marks the culmination of a months-long student effort — including multiple sit-ins, rallies, a hunger strike and the encampment — to secure an audience with the Corporation.
The meeting marks the culmination of a months-long student effort — including multiple sit-ins, rallies, a hunger strike and the encampment — to secure an audience with the Corporation.

This morning, five Brown Divest Coalition representatives presented their proposal for divestment before five members of the Corporation. Corporation members will vote on the proposal in October following an agreement between organizers of a main green encampment and University administrators.

Brown Divest Now,” a proposal released during a hunger strike in February, is a critical edition of a 2020 report from the Advisory Committee on Corporation Responsibility in Investment Practices that calls for the University to divest from “companies identified as facilitating human rights violations in Palestine,” The Herald previously reported.  

The meeting marks the culmination of a months-long student effort — including multiple sit-ins, rallies, a hunger strike and the encampment — to secure an audience with the Corporation.

The student delegation comprised Niyanta Nepal ’25, Hisham Awartani ’25, Eli Grossman ’24, Victoria Antonetti GS and Aboud Ashhab ’25, The Herald previously reported. According to Arman Deendar ’25, a spokesperson for BDC, the five Corporation members requested that their names not be disclosed. Chancellor Samuel Mencoff ’78 P’11 P’15 and Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Jane Dietze were present, according to the agreement.


President Christina Paxson P’19 P’MD’20 previously refused to bring the committee’s initial recommendations before the Corporation. 

In a preparation meeting on Wednesday, which was open to the press, the five students went through what they prepared to present to the Corporation members. Awartani opened the presentation narrating a hypothetical day of his life in the West Bank. He described moments of violence and control toward civilians perpetuated by the Israeli Defense Forces, all based on his first-hand experience, he said. 

“While this is my own personal experience, it mirrors reality for millions of Palestinians,” he said. According to Awartani, the actions of the Israeli government have been defined as apartheid by multiple human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International

He highlighted how apartheid had been used as a ground for divestment in the past, pointing to Brown’s 1987 divestment from South Africa. 

Grossman then proceeded to address a “national media narrative that pits divestment actions against the safety of Jewish students,” adding that “hundreds of Jewish students” at Brown have participated in demonstrations in favor of a Corporation vote on divestment.

The proposal identifies a list of 10 primarily aerospace and defense technology companies complicit in “grave human right violations,” Grossman said. These companies are Northrop Grumman, RTX Corporation, Airbus, Volvo, Boeing, General Dynamics, GE Aerospace, Motorola Solutions, Textron and Safariland.

“While it’s true that divesting the endowment is certainly more complicated than it was 20 or 30 years ago, meaningful steps can still be taken to ensure Brown minimizes its present and future exposure to companies profiting from apartheid and genocide,” Grossman said. 

During the Thursday meeting, the students requested that the Corporation meet certain criteria to ensure a “fair, transparent” vote in October, the press release states. Their requests included an opportunity for students to present their proposal once more in October, access to the list of Corporation members “who have recused themselves due to their conflicts of interest on the divestment vote” and a secret ballot voting process.

BDC did not disclose whether these standards were approved to The Herald. 

“Discussions so far have been constructive, and the members of the Corporation expressed appreciation to the students for sharing their views and perspectives,” Senior Vice President for Communications Cass Cliatt wrote in an email to The Herald. 


“We hope that an open path of communication will be made, so Corporation members can reach out to us to answer any questions they have without going through the President’s office,” Deendar wrote in a message to The Herald. “We are open to having one on one meetings with them to provide them with more information around our proposal.”

On Friday, the same members of the Corporation will meet with five students who oppose the divestment proposal and hear their concerns, according to Cliatt. 

In anticipation of the October vote, Paxson has requested the Advisory Committee on University Resources Management to provide her with a recommendation on divestment by late September, as established in the agreement. The Committee is made of “faculty, students, staff and alumni, none of whom are Corporation members,” Cliatt wrote.

Additional reporting by Kathy Wang

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Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Vice President and Chief Investment Officer Jane Dietze was present at the meeting. Dietze was not present. The chair of the Corporation's Investment Committee was in attendance, as per the agreement. The Herald regrets the error. 

Anisha Kumar

Anisha Kumar is a section editor covering University Hall. She is a sophomore from Menlo Park, California concentrating in English and Political Science who loves speed-crosswording and rewatching sitcoms.

Julia Vaz

Julia Vaz is the managing editor of newsroom and vice president on The Herald's 134th Editorial Board. Previously, she covered Environment and Crime & Justice as a Metro editor. A concentrator in political science and modern culture and media, she loves watching Twilight (as a comedy) and casually dropping the fact she is from Brazil.


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