U should listen to divestment calls

Daily Editorial Board

Earlier this week, Students for Justice in Palestine, faculty and a group of more than 30 student organizations urged the University of Minnesota to divest from companies that they say “profit from human rights abuses and violations of international law.”
 
 
Their initiative calls on the school to financially disassociate from four major companies — Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, G4S and Raytheon — that provide equipment, supplies and weapons for the Israeli Defense Force.
 
 
In a statement released Monday, SJP said the University’s investment in the corporations “shows implicit support for the decisions and actions of these companies … which include the killing of civilians and violations of their basic human rights.”
 
 
Humphrey School of Public Affairs professor Ragui Assaad said that while divesting from a handful of companies wouldn’t have a great financial effect on the University, it could ameliorate its public relations with student groups.
 
 
This month marked the one-year anniversary of a sit-in staged by Whose Diversity?. The protest called for action on campus diversity issues, which members say continues to be slow-moving.
 
 
“Students, rightfully so, are very tired of the slow processes that have happened for years, months,” said Vice Provost of Student Affairs Danita Brown Young at a meeting between administrators and student leaders. 
 
 
Considering that student activism is rarely so straightforward and low-risk, we urge the University to react to SJP’s call for divestment as a show that it is responsive to student concerns.