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UNIVERSITY OF INDIANAPOLIS

DIVESTMENT RESOLUTION

Updated: March 24, 2016

WHEREAS, our UIndy Statement of Values and Principles calls for integrity, community, social justice, respect, and responsibility; [1]

WHEREAS, our University’s mission is to prepare its graduates for effective, responsible, and articulate membership in the complex societies in which they live and serve; [2]

WHEREAS, our University’s mission is to seek strategic partnerships with campus, city, state, national, and global communities; [2]

WHEREAS, our University’s mission is to capitalize on opportunities created by changing circumstances, pursuing initiatives consistent with our mission; [3]

WHEREAS, our University’s values and framing principles promote “transformational experiences, evidence-based decision-making, and financial and resource stewardship”; [4]

WHEREAS, the content of this resolution is consistent with the aforementioned mission, values, and framing principles of the University of Indianapolis;

WHEREAS, University of Indianapolis students have no public access to information on what corporations the University is invested in, and should have input regarding what corporations their tuition money supports;

WHEREAS, the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees has yet to provide information regarding what corporations the University is invested in;

WHEREAS, the Occupied Palestinian Territories are controlled militarily by the Israeli government;

WHEREAS, Israeli government violations of human rights and international law have been recognized and condemned by the international community including: the UN General Assembly in dozens of resolutions (i.e., 259, 316, 446, 452, 465, 468-469, 471, 476, 592, 605, 607, 608, 636, 641, 672, 673, 681, 694, 726, 799, etc.); the UN Security Council; the International Court of Justice in their 2004 Advisory Opinion on the Route of the Separation Barrier in the West Bank [5]; and by the Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission to Gaza, among others; [6]

WHEREAS, in 2005, Palestinian Civil Society issued the call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions, asking the international community to divest from corporations profiting from their oppression; [7]

WHEREAS, passage of this resolution constitutes a response to the boycott and divestment component of the call;

WHEREAS, numerous companies are actively engaged in human rights violations of Palestinians;

WHEREAS, boycotts target products and companies that profit from the violation of Palestinian rights;

WHEREAS, divestment means that we should not support corporations complicit in the violation of Palestinian rights and ensuring that the likes of university investment portfolios and pension funds are not used to finance such companies, lest we also become complicit; [8]

WHEREAS, there have been numerous successful student-led divestment and boycott initiatives targeting corporations involved in human rights abuses and other transgressions across the country, e.g.;

  • Students at Earlham College, Swarthmore College, and Wesleyan University have all successfully completed boycott campaigns on their campuses;
  • Students at the University of California (all campuses), San Jose State University, Columbia University, Wesleyan University, Loyola University, Princeton University, Stanford University, Northwestern University, DePaul University,University of New Mexico, Brown University, Arizona State University, UMass-Boston, University of Michigan- Dearborn, Wayne State University, Oberlin College, Hampshire College, Earlham College, and others, have all passed divestment resolutions or otherwise endorsed divestiture, and numerous campaigns are ongoing on other campuses; [9]

WHEREAS, the $20-billion Pension and Health Benefits Fund of the United Methodist Church has declared the five largest Israeli banks off limits for investment and has divested from the two that it held in its portfolios; [10]

WHEREAS, the University of Indianapolis is affiliated with the United Methodist Church; [2]

WHEREAS, boycott and divestment were successful tactics that contributed to ending apartheid in South Africa; [11]

WHEREAS, the student activists who exposed South Africa’s apartheid system and who marched for equality, freedom, and dignity set an example for us to follow as students of global conscience;

WHEREAS, as the anti-Apartheid boycott and divestment movement shows, it is imperative for students to stand unequivocally against all forms of racism and bigotry globally and on campus, including, but not limited to, Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian discrimination as practiced under Israel’s system of illegal occupation in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, as well as any form of anti-Semitism and demonization;

WHEREAS, Sabra Hummus, which is sold at Hound Express in the Schwitzer Student Center, is co-owned by the Strauss Group which provides financial support and supplies to the Golani and Givati brigades of the Israeli military, which have been found by the United Nations to be violators of human rights; [20]

WHEREAS, the following is an illustrative and non-exhaustive list of companies in which the University of Indianapolis may currently be invested, and from which it may profit;

WHEREAS, Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, Hewlett-Packard, G4S, Boeing, and Lockheed Martin have been found to be complicit in systemic violations of basic human rights;

WHEREAS, Caterpillar has violated these rights by continually providing engineering tools and

bulldozers routinely used in the demolition of Palestinian homes, refugee camps, water cisterns, and agricultural fields in the West Bank and Gaza, and by providing bulldozers used to expand illegal settlements throughout the West Bank; [12][13]

WHEREAS, Elbit Systems “remains one of two main providers of the electronic detection fence to the Apartheid Wall project in the West Bank. The company’s products are heavily relied upon by the Israeli Army in almost every military operation launched at the Gaza Strip”; [14]

WHEREAS, Hewlett-Packard Company (HP) has provided biometric identification systems used at Israeli military checkpoints, which restrict the freedom of movement of Palestinians, facilitate discrimination against Palestinians, and reinforce a stratification of citizenship; [15]

WHEREAS, G4S provides security systems for prisons holding Palestinian political prisoners, as well as security systems for interrogation and detentions centers, where Palestinians are regularly subjected to torture; [16]

WHEREAS, Boeing, the second largest arms supplier worldwide, provides Israel with F-15A Fighter jets and Apache AH 64 helicopters which were used in the assault on Gaza in the summer oF 2014; [17]

WHEREAS, Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms manufacturer, supplies Israel with F-16 fighter jets, Longbow Hellfire Missiles, and AH -64 Apache helicopter parts, which were the main weapons used in the assault on Gaza; [17]

WHEREAS, having documented serious violations of human rights and possible war crimes, both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch  called upon the United States government and other parties to cease the transfer or sale of arms that would likely be used in the further commission of human rights violations; [18] [19]

WHEREAS, there is no published socially responsible investment  or buying policy that would prevent the University from being invested in any of these corporations at any given time, or buying their products;

WHEREAS, buying and selling products of, and investing in, these companies shows implicit support for the decisions and actions of these companies, as well as their consequences, which include the killings of civilians and violations of their basic human rights;

WHEREAS, buying and selling products of, and investing in, these companies makes the University of Indianapolis and its students complicit in these crimes;

WHEREAS, the aforementioned companies have a financial stake in the continuation of these human rights abuses;

WHEREAS, the consequences of these companies’ actions also affect the UIndy community directly, including students whose families experience occupation, systematic discrimination, death, injury, and other forms of human rights violations, as well as the moral integrity of this institution;

WHEREAS, the only way to achieve financial neutrality in such situations is to end our investment in and implicit support for such companies through boycott and divestment;

WHEREAS, this resolution aims neither to condemn a country, a people, a religion, or a community nor to determine a political solution, but is solely aimed at ending our University’s support of companies that profit from human rights violations;

LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the Student Senate requests that UIndy Dining Services, LLC remove Sabra Hummus from the Hound Express and other vending outlets on campus until its parent company, Strauss Group, ceases enabling the human rights violations identified in this resolution;

LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Student Senate requests that UIndy Dining Services, LLC refrain from selling products in the future of companies profiting from human rights abuses in Palestine;

LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Student Senate requests that the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees divest fully from companies profiting from human rights abuses and violations of international law in Palestine including but not limited to Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, G4S, Lockheed Martin, Elbit Systems, and Boeing, within the bounds of their fiduciary responsibility, until the aforementioned companies cease to enable the human rights violations identified in this resolution;

LET IT BE FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Student Senate requests that the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees refrain from making further investments in companies profiting from human rights abuses in Palestine.

SIGNED

UIndy Students for Justice in Palestine (UIndy SJP)

ARCHAIC Anthropology and Archaeology Student Organization

Black Student Association (BSA)

JANUS Club

Kinesiology Club

Muslim Student Union (MSU)

Pre-Physical Therapy Student Organization (PPTSO)

UIndy Honors Student Association

UIndy PRIDE

UIndy Interfaith

REFERENCES

[1] https://myuindyfiles.uindy.edu/CMSMS/uploads/Student_Handbooks/StudentHandbook.pdf

[2] http://www.uindy.edu/about-uindy/history-and-mission

[3] http://www.uindy.edu/administration-and-trustees/president/mission-vision

[4] http://www.uindy.edu/administration-and-trustees/president/values-framing-principles

[5] http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?pr=71&code=mwp&p1=3&p2=4&p3=6

[6] http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/A-HRC-12-48.pdf

[7] http://bdsmovement.net/call

[8] http://bdsmovement.net/bdsintro

[9] http://www.endtheoccupation.org/article.php?id=4503

[10] https://www.kairosresponse.org/pr_umc_divests_israeli_banks_jan2016.html

[11] http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/01/27/is-divestment-an-effective-means-of-protest/divestment-was-just-one-weapon-in-battle-against-apartheid

[12] https://www.hrw.org/report/2004/10/17/razing-rafah/mass-home-demolitions-gaza-strip

[13] http://ccrjustice.org/home/get-involved/tools-resources/fact-sheets-and-faqs/factsheet-home-demolitions-and-caterpillar

[14] http://www.whoprofits.org/company/elbit-systems

[15] http://www.whoprofits.org/company/hewlett-packard-hp

[16] http://www.whoprofits.org/company/group4securicor-g4s

[17] http://web.stanford.edu/class/e297a/U.S.%20Defense%20Industry%20and%20Arms%20Sales.htm

[18] http://www.amnestyusa.org/pdfs/LetterToCongresWeaponsTransferAIUSA06262014.pdf

[19] https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/07/15/israel/palestine-unlawful-israeli-airstrikes-kill-civilians

[20] http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/boycotts/boycottslist/israel.aspx

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