Last week the University of Chicago president announced that the board of trustees would not change the investment strategies of the university in response to calls not to invest in companies doing business with the Sudanese government, despite the fact that several other universities including Brown, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and Yale have decided to eliminate such investments. American companies are already barred from doing such business so a university could eliminate such investments reasonably painlessly but the University of Chicago didn't want to set a precedent.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
As an undergrad at Cornell in the early 80's, I witnessed the movement to encourage the university to divest their endowment holdings in companies that do business in South Africa, to protest the apartheid of the time. Some students went as far to create a "shanty town" of tents, sleeping outside to make their point. I didn't support their movement for a selfish reason—my mother worked for one of those companies and it seemed hypocritical to bite the hand that fed me.