Northwestern University spokesperson Alan Cubbage issued a statement (read below) in an email Thursday afternoon in regards to the NU Divest resolution that passed Wednesday night.
"The University administration and the Board of Trustees Investment Committee will review this resolution thoughtfully," the statement said. "As part of the review of this resolution, Northwestern's vice president for investments and executive vice president are willing to meet with student representatives."
The statement also denied the University has direct holdings with any of the individual firms, emphasizing the school invests in "a large number of mutual funds, stocks and other financial instruments."
The statement is in response to the resolution passed at ASG Senate Wednesday night, calling for the school to be more transparent about its investments and to divest from six particular companies said to be involved in human rights violations in Palestine.
In response to claims that student's tuition contributes to the endowment and therefore investment in these companies, the statement said, "tuition does not go into the endowment, but is used to partially cover the cost of providing an education to Northwestern students."
"The organizers of NU Divest are pleased to hear that the administration will take the requests of the student body, in the form of our recently passed ASG resolution, into consideration," said NU Divest in an official statement to North by Northwestern via email.
NU Divest also said their organizers are aware the University isn't directly invested in any of the six companies listed: "virtually no universities invest their money directly in corporations without the buffer of investment firms and/or external portfolios and mutual funds," the statement said. "We hope that this well known fact will not be used to distract from the complicity that comes with investment in corporations committing human rights abuses, regardless of whether or not there is a financial middle man."
The Northwestern Coalition for Peace, a collection of students and student groups promoting dialogue toward a two-state solution and opposed to divestment and the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, also responded to the University's statement.
"We are happy to hear that the administration is considering a socially responsible investment policy that aligns our communal values with our investment decisions," said Weinberg senior Tina Umanskiy said in an email on behalf of the Coalition. "However, we continue to harbor major reservations about the BDS strategy as it relates to accomplishing peace and justice in Israel-Palestine."
This post was updated Feb. 20 at 2:30p.m. to include the statements from NU Divest and the Northwestern Coalition for Peace.
See our coverage of the ASG Senate meeting.
Full University Statement:
Alan K. Cubbage, Northwestern University Vice President for University Relations
February 19, 2015
The Northwestern University Student Senate passed a resolution 24-22 with three abstentions on Feb. 19, 2015 calling on Northwestern to divest from holding stock in six companies that allegedly “are profiting off the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands.” The University administration and the Board of Trustees Investment Committee will review this resolution thoughtfully.
The vice president for investments and the chair of the investment committee have met with students previously in regard to other divestment issues. As part of the review of this resolution, Northwestern's vice president for investments and executive vice president are willing to meet with student representatives.
Northwestern does not directly hold shares in any of the six companies, nor does it generally hold stocks in individual firms. Instead, the University works with financial management firms that invest in a large number of mutual funds, stocks and other financial instruments on behalf of the University.
It has been asserted that Northwestern student tuition is used for endowment purposes. This is not the case. Tuition does not go into the endowment, but is used to partially cover the cost of providing an education to Northwestern students.