Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, has become the first of any college or university in the US to divest from companies on the grounds of their involvement in supporting the ongoing occupation of Palestine.
This landmark move is a direct result of a two-year intensive campaign by the campus group, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The group pressured Hampshire College’s Board of Trustees to divest from six specific companies due to human rights concerns in occupied Palestine. More than 800 students, professors and alumni have signed SJP’s “institutional statement” calling for the divestment.
The proposal put forth by SJP was approved on Saturday, 7 February 2009 by the Board. SJP has stated that Hampshire has distanced itself from war crimes and occupation by following through with the divestment measures.
Meeting minutes from a committee of Hampshire’s Board of Trustees confirm that “President Hexter acknowledged that it was the good work of SJP that brought this issue to the attention of the committee.” This groundbreaking decision follows in Hampshire’s history of being the first college in the country to divest from apartheid South Africa 32 years ago, a decision based on similar human rights concerns. This divestment was also a direct result of student pressure.
The six corporations, all of which provide Occupation forces with equipment and services in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip are: Caterpillar, United Technologies, General Electric, ITT Corporation, Motorola and Terex. Furthermore, university policy prevents the reinvestment in any company involved in the illegal occupation.
For more, go to the HSJP website