Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of New Mexico will push for divestment Wednesday night. (Image courtesy of UNM-SJP)
Tonight in Albuquerque, student senators at the University of New Mexico will hold a vote on a resolution that demands that the university divest from corporations that profit from human rights violations both in Palestine and at the US-Mexico border.
Members and allies of Students for Justice in Palestine at UNM, who have drafted the resolution, also demand that the administration implement a socially-responsible investment committee and that the regents (the university’s governing body) make the institution’s investments transparent.
I spoke with UNM-SJP member and organizer Danya Mustafa about the resolution, happening tonight at 5pm Pacific, 6pm Mountain and 8pm Eastern time (the full audio of this interview will be available soon on our regular podcast).
What we’re asking for in our divestment resolution are three demands, mainly. Our first demand is that we want our university to divest funds [if they are invested] from companies or corporations that profit off of human rights violations in Palestine-Israel, but those same companies also profit off human rights violations here at the border. And New Mexico is a border state, so this really hits home to us.
And our second demand [is transparency] — because our university, even though it is a public institution, it is very hard to find where our university is invested in. There’s really no transparency. So we’re asking our university to be more transparent and letting us know where they’re invested in.
Our third demand is that we’re asking our university to have a socially-responsible investment committee in place with student representation. The reason being is that in 1985, after the UNM regents fully divested from South African apartheid, one of the regents called for a socially-responsible investment committee. That was in 1985, and it’s 2014 and there’s still no such thing. So we’re making sure that we want to hold our school accountable and we want to be able to have a say in where our money is invested.
“Respect human rights”
In a statement, UNM-SJP says that companies such as Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, G4S, Elbit Systems and Veolia have already been targeted for divestment because of their contracts both with the Israeli military in violations of Palestinian rights and with the US Department of Homeland Security at the US-Mexico border to detain, deport and surveil undocumented persons.
We, Students for Justice in Palestine, along with Students Organizing Actions for Peace, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, UNM Dream Team, Men of Color Alliance, Men of Color Initiative, Fair Trade Initiative, Muslim Student Association, and UNM Arabic Club are asking our University to respect human rights and to be on the right side of history. Our University has fully divested from South Africa apartheid in the past and it is time we put pressure on our University to continue to divest from corporations who are complicit in the oppression of people.
ASUNM is voting on our divestment resolution. Let’s pack the room and show the senators that we support divestment from unjust corporations.
There is growing momentum of campus divestment initiatives in the US, Canada and Europe.
Just in the past three weeks, student activists at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan-Dearborn, Loyola University Chicago, San Diego State University, King’s College (London) and McMaster University (Ontario) have held hearings on divestment resolutions calling on university administrations to pull their investments from corporations which profit from human rights violations in Palestine.
And this week in Chicago, students at DePaul University will hold a divestment hearing as well.