Divestiture Debate Makes Headlines

Daniela Altimari of The Hartford Courant reports on the divestiture debate:

Late last month, after a lengthy and impassioned debate, the Wesleyan Student Assembly approved a resolution denouncing such investments. Wesleyan’s portfolio includes holdings in Raytheon and General Dynamics.

To junior Erik Rosenberg, a member of Students For Ending the War in Iraq, it boils down to one question: “Can we really be comfortable with educating ourselves with money that was made through violence?”

But other students expressed concern about the financial ramifications of divestiture, a concern Rosenberg dismissed.

Others say the war is a complicated issue and divestment would be a symbolic move, at best. “Divestment is such a blunt tool,” said Jon Golden, a junior and student assembly representative from suburban Philadelphia.

Golden says he doesn’t support the war and didn’t vote for President Bush. “I think the war has been a foreign policy debacle,” he said. “But some people think if you oppose the war, if you oppose the Bush administration, then divestment is the answer. I think there is a more nuanced argument to be made.”

College activists have used divestment in the past as a mechanism to force social change. The most notable example is the anti-apartheid movement that began in the late 1970s. Hundreds of colleges and universities, including Wesleyan, unloaded stock in companies that did business with the apartheid government in South Africa.

Since then, Wesleyan has instituted a number of changes to hold corporations accountable and make sure the university’s voice is heard, said Justin Harmon, vice president for public affairs.

“Our approach has been to try and engage companies if there are issues in terms of their corporate behavior … that are of concern to the campus community,” Harmon said. “There is a sense that engagement and dialogue could be a constructive mechanism and potentially more powerful than the symbolic act of divestiture.”

Administrators say they are unsure of how many students back divestiture. A rally last week drew about 30 supporters, though Rosenberg said more than 600 signed a petition supporting the idea.

“Next year, we’re going to try to get the larger Wesleyan community involved,” he said. “We definitely have a long way to go.”

Rosenberg said he has yet to broach the issue with incoming President Michael Roth, but he believes Roth will be supportive. “I think he really does see students as agents of change, not just in our own community but in the national community and international community,” he said.

After all, Roth is no stranger to such activism: In 1977, as a student at Wesleyan, he slept in the president’s office, according to an article by Lindsay Ceballos in the May 7 edition of the Wesleyan Argus. He was protesting the university’s investment in companies that did business with South Africa.

18 thoughts on “Divestiture Debate Makes Headlines

  1. Anonymous

    ok, fine. I hate America. I hate that money is taken out of my paycheck, every purchase I make, and all my taxes and spend on blowing up innocent people. I hate that I’ve been turned into an accomplice for what is nothing short of mass murder. I hate that every regulatory body that MIGHT have protected us and the rest of the world from the parasites that run the show here are all firmly controlled by those they are supposed to regulate. I hate an FCC owned by AOL-Time Warner. I hate an EPA owned by Monsanto and Exxon-Mobil. I hate an FDA owned by pill-pushers. I hate institutional racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. I certainly hate a defense department, military, and white house owned by war profiteers. I hate that my friends who couldn’t afford college have to fight a war that they now believe is dead wrong, but the slick, sleazy recruiter-man that came into our health class in high school told them they didn’t have a choice. I hate that we as a political society are so used to our leaders killing people that we have a phrase (collateral damage) for the amount of unecessary death that is “acceptable.” I hate the war in Iraq, I hate the upcoming war in Iran, I hate Plan Colombia, I hate the School of the Americas. I hate every motherfucking warlord that we trained, funded, and armed.satisfied?

  2. Anonymous

    ok, fine. I hate America. I hate that money is taken out of my paycheck, every purchase I make, and all my taxes and spend on blowing up innocent people. I hate that I’ve been turned into an accomplice for what is nothing short of mass murder. I hate that every regulatory body that MIGHT have protected us and the rest of the world from the parasites that run the show here are all firmly controlled by those they are supposed to regulate. I hate an FCC owned by AOL-Time Warner. I hate an EPA owned by Monsanto and Exxon-Mobil. I hate an FDA owned by pill-pushers. I hate institutional racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. I certainly hate a defense department, military, and white house owned by war profiteers. I hate that my friends who couldn’t afford college have to fight a war that they now believe is dead wrong, but the slick, sleazy recruiter-man that came into our health class in high school told them they didn’t have a choice. I hate that we as a political society are so used to our leaders killing people that we have a phrase (collateral damage) for the amount of unecessary death that is “acceptable.” I hate the war in Iraq, I hate the upcoming war in Iran, I hate Plan Colombia, I hate the School of the Americas. I hate every motherfucking warlord that we trained, funded, and armed.
    satisfied?

  3. Anonymous

    Nah… actually, I DO support the troops. They deserve better healthcare, services, pay, and otherwise once they get back here. Cutting that it wrong. It should be increased. There are a lot of things wrong with this country, but it’s still the best in the world, and I’m proud to live here….Just “fucking” admit that you hate America.Then evaluate the reasons why you’re living in America.

  4. Anonymous

    Nah… actually, I DO support the troops. They deserve better healthcare, services, pay, and otherwise once they get back here. Cutting that it wrong. It should be increased. There are a lot of things wrong with this country, but it’s still the best in the world, and I’m proud to live here.

    …Just “fucking” admit that you hate America.
    Then evaluate the reasons why you’re living in America.

  5. Anonymous

    Or “I support the troops, but the second they come home they deserve bottom self healthcare, zero support whatsoever, and massive cuts to VA services.”just fucking admit that you don’t really support the troops, just the bombs and guns.

  6. Anonymous

    Or “I support the troops, but the second they come home they deserve bottom self healthcare, zero support whatsoever, and massive cuts to VA services.”

    just fucking admit that you don’t really support the troops, just the bombs and guns.

  7. Anonymous

    Or maybe SEWI is trying to say…”I support our troops, but we shouldn’t give them weapons.”Or perhaps…”I support the U.S. intervening to stop genocide in Darfur, but they shouldn’t bring weapons.”

  8. Anonymous

    Or maybe SEWI is trying to say…
    “I support our troops, but we shouldn’t give them weapons.”
    Or perhaps…
    “I support the U.S. intervening to stop genocide in Darfur, but they shouldn’t bring weapons.”

  9. Anonymous

    Or like saying, “I support the troops but don’t support the war.” Trust me, as former military (10th Mountain Div), if you aren’t supporting the mission, you aren’t supporting the personnel. I’m not saying that you should or shouldn’t supportthe war. Just saying you can’t have it both way. Might make some people feel good about themselves (or PC) but it’s just a lie.

  10. Anonymous

    Or like saying, “I support the troops but don’t support the war.” Trust me, as former military (10th Mountain Div), if you aren’t supporting the mission, you aren’t supporting the personnel. I’m not saying that you should or shouldn’t supportthe war. Just saying you can’t have it both way. Might make some people feel good about themselves (or PC) but it’s just a lie.

  11. Anonymous

    How stupid does a person have to be to oppose the war but not the war profiteers that make it continue?That’s like saying “I support the troops, but really enjoy when they get blown up in carbomb attacks.”

  12. Anonymous

    How stupid does a person have to be to oppose the war but not the war profiteers that make it continue?

    That’s like saying “I support the troops, but really enjoy when they get blown up in carbomb attacks.”

  13. Anonymous

    “A rally last week drew about 30 supporters” – which is approximately the membership of SEWI. I think that gives you all you need to know right there. And you could put a petition up for the idea of, say, dressing up like Paris Hilton for a day, and you’d get 600 signatures.

  14. Anonymous

    “A rally last week drew about 30 supporters” – which is approximately the membership of SEWI. I think that gives you all you need to know right there. And you could put a petition up for the idea of, say, dressing up like Paris Hilton for a day, and you’d get 600 signatures.

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