Brown University committee votes to divest from companies connected to the Israeli occupation

On Dec 2, Brown University’s Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (ACCRIP) voted to recommend that the school divest from companies that facilitate Israeli human rights violations. Six ACCRIP members voted in favor of divestment, two voted against it, and one member abstained.

The ACCRIP is comprised of students, faculty, staff, and alumni. It “considers issues of ethical and moral responsibility in the investment policies of Brown University.”

“We recommend that the Brown Corporation exclude from Brown’s direct investments, and require Brown’s separate account investment managers to exclude from their direct investments, companies identified as facilitating human rights violations in Palestine,” reads the resolution.

This past spring, 69% of Brown’s undergrad student body voted in favor of a referendum to divest from occupation-connected companies like Motorola, Boeing, and Raytheon. After that vote was dismissed by Brown University President Christina Paxson, members of the group Brown Divest have repeatedly presented their case to ACCRIP, while Brown Students for Israel and JStreet members have argued against such a vote.

“I am really excited that ACCRIP took this step towards divestment,” Jewish Voice for Peace student group member Tal Frieden told The Brown Daily Herald, “We know that this is the first Ivy League university to recommend divestment from companies committing human rights violations in Palestine, and we’re really excited for other universities to join this movement.”

The decision is not binding, as the advisory body will now submit the recommendation of divestment to Paxson and await the university’s decision.

The Brown vote comes just days after Columbia University’s student council voted to hold a referendum on Israeli divestment in 2020. The group Columbia University Apartheid Divest has been pushing the ballot initiative for three years.

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