A RESOLUTION FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN TO DIVEST FROM SOCIALLY IRRESPONSIBLE COMPANIES THAT VIOLATE PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS

ASSEMBLY RESOLUTION 3-050

A RESOLUTION FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN TO DIVEST FROM SOCIALLY IRRESPONSIBLE COMPANIES THAT VIOLATE PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS

WHEREAS,the role of the President’s Advisory Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights is to “Monitor code enforcement and promote University leadership in corporate citizenship with respect to fair labor practices, human rights, and sustainability in its licensing operations”;AND,

WHEREAS,as an example of this commitment, the Procurement Services of the Business and Finance Office at the University of Michigan is committed to “Socially responsible procurement [which] is defined as conducting the University of Michigan’s business in a manner that meets or exceeds the ethical, legal, commercial and public expectations that society has of business operation” ; AND,

 

WHEREAS, The University of Michigan continues to be hub for student activism surrounding social justice, including issues of militarism, women’s rights, environmental justice, and underrepresented minorities; AND,

WHEREAS, the University of Michigan’s Board of Regents’ divestment from South African Apartheid in 1978 and from tobacco-related companies in 2000 sets a precedent for ethical divestment from socially irresponsible companies; AND,

WHEREAS, human rights are universal and apply to all people regardless of race, nationality, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other status; AND,

WHEREAS, Israel continues to occupy the West Bank and hold a military blockade in the Gaza Strip in contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 242; AND,

WHEREAS, the Israeli occupation’s policies and systematic discrimination against Palestinians is well documented by academics, activists, and human rights groups; AND,

WHEREAS, the occupation infringes upon Palestinian human rights in such ways as, the building of settlements on Palestinian land, the uneven distribution of land and water resources, the unlawful demolition of Palestinian homes, the administrative detention of Palestinians without charge,the prohibition of Palestinian use of Israeli only roads, and the siege and blockade of Gaza; AND,

WHEREAS, the United Nations Human Rights Council 2013 report states that Palestinians’ “rights to freedom of self-determination, non-discrimination, freedom of movement, equality, due process, fair trial, not to be arbitrarily detained, liberty and security of person, freedom of expression […] are being violated consistently and on a daily basis” by Israel; AND,

WHEREAS, the June 30, 2013 University of Michigan Directly Held Equities report of investments lists investments in General Electric, Heidelberg Cement, Caterpillar and United Technology, which are explicitly tied to Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories and violations of international human rights law; AND,

 

WHEREAS, General Electric Corporation (GE) “supplies the propulsion system for Israel’s AH-64 Apache Assault Helicopter, which has been used in Israeli attacks on Palestinian towns and refugee camps…[and] possesses contracts with Israel to sell engines for a variety of military aircraft…[and] possesses several Israeli service contracts for engineering support and testing”; AND,

 

WHEREAS, Heidelberg Cement is “the owner of three plants in West Bank settlements and one Israeli aggregates quarry in the occupied West Bank through Hanson Israel” in which “the quarry exploits the occupied Palestinian natural resources for the Israeli construction industry”; AND,

WHEREAS, Caterpillar “manufactures and provides bulldozers and civil engineering tools…used in demolitions of Palestinians’ houses in the occupied territories, in the construction of the separation wall and settlements on Palestinian land, in military incursions and as weapons. The Israeli army has used unmanned D9 bulldozers (Dawn Thunder) in the Dec 2008 attacks in Gaza” and in the murder of Evergreen College student Rachel Corrie; AND,

WHEREAS, United Technologies “produces Blackhawk helicopters which are used by the Israeli military to attack Palestinian cities, refugee camps and villages. Many civilians have been killed in these attacks”; AND,

WHEREAS, Palestinian civil society has called on the global community to implement boycotts, divestments, and sanctions in order to pressure Israel to comply with international law; and has had its call endorsed by a diverse group of activists and leaders including South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, eminent academics and public intellectuals Noam Chomsky and Cornel West, Civil Rights Activist Angela Davis, Jewish Voice for Peace, and the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, among others; AND,

 

WHEREAS,the companies identified are involved in activities that deeply and personally affect Palestinian University of Michigan students with families and ties in Palestine; AND

 

WHEREAS,it is the opinion of the authors that ethical divestment fits with UM’s deeply held principles of justice and equality for all people.

 

WHEREAS, the concern to be explored is expressed broadly and consistently by the campus community over time, and the action in question is antithetical to the core mission and values of the University; THEREFORE BE IT

 

RESOLVED, that the Central Student Government calls upon the University of Michigan Regents to appoint an ad hoc committee to investigate the ethical and moral implications of our investments in the corporations Caterpillar, General Electric, Heidelberg Cement, United Technologies, and all other companies that explicitly profit from and facilitate the Israeli occupation and siege of Palestinian land in violation of international law and human rights, in order to persuade these companies to terminate all such business activity; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED, that the Central Student Government urges the UM asset managers to divest, as soon as such divestment may be accomplished without injury to the UM’s assets and investment strategies, from all such companies that, within one year from the date of engagement remain uncommitted to a diligent plan for terminating all such unethical business activities; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED,The University of Michigan maintain socially responsible investment practices that align with the University’s mission and values, as well as the precedents set by previous divestments, as well as the ethical and moral standards its students demand; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED, the CSG establish a committee tasked with the annual review and evaluation of the University’s investments portfolio for its integrity to the University’s ethical and moral standards, and thereupon the submission of a report for consideration by the board of regents; AND BE IT FURTHER

RESOLVED, that a copy of this resolution be sent to the UM Board of Regents, in addition to the President’s Advisory Committee on Labor Standards and Human Rights, for their consideration; AND BE IT FURTHER

 

RESOLVED, that this resolution stand as an expression of solidarity with all people struggling for self-determination

 

Authors

_______________________________

Bayan Founas

_______________________________

Farah Erzouki

 

_______________________________

Suha Najjar

_______________________________

Yazan Kherallah

 

_______________________________

Rae Scevers, Rackham

Attest

 

______________________________

Meagan Shokar

Speaker of the Assembly

_____________________________

Ramon Martinez

Vice Speaker of the Assembly

President’s Approval

____________________________

Michael Proppe

Presented to the Assembly for First Reads on ___________________________

Presented to the Assembly for Second Reads on _________________________

 

Yes:  _____No: _____Abs:_____Date: _______________________

Signature Necessary: ______       Signature Received By _________________: ______

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