As stakeholders and beneficiaries of the Georgetown name, we are concerned about our University’s complicity in state violence. As students, these investments are made in our name, therefore we are responsible for the impact of these companies on the world. As such, we, GU Forming A Radically Ethical Endowment, (GU F.R.E.E.), demand that Georgetown University cease its collaboration with state violence by:
- Transparency. We demand Georgetown University release its investment portfolio to the Georgetown community on an annual basis. This entails a list of Georgetown’s current direct and external investments and holdings of endowment securities, Georgetown’s fund managers, and all data compiled by/on behalf of Georgetown University with respect to companies in which investments have already been made or considered. A lack of transparency, however the university may frame it, ultimately amounts to a lack of accountability and disingenuous manipulation of the Jesuit identity for financial gain, effectively profiting off of performative moral rectitude. The University has responded to other students’ calls for transparency and divestment by affirming that a substantive portion of Georgetown’s endowment lies in hedge funds, thus insinuating that there is no institutional ethical oversight of investments made by fund managers. As a University whose endowment was founded through the enslavement and sale of human beings, it is unacceptable that we refuse to properly ensure that our dollars are not subsidizing systems of oppression. Our Jesuit identity necessitates that financial considerations should not take precedence over moral consequences. We should not invest in the destruction of human life and dignity, regardless of the financial return.
- Divestment from Private Prisons. We demand that Georgetown permanently divest any holdings it may have in the private prison industry that profit from the mass incarceration of Black, Latinx, Native American, poor and working class communities. Mass incarceration is among the most glaring reflection of America’s anti-blackness, xenophobia, nativism, and vilification of the poor and working class. Laws targeting working class and low-income black and brown communities intentionally fill American prisons beyond capacity to garner profit for privatized institutions. This cycle of criminalization, incarceration, disenfranchisement, and recidivism is intentionally fueled by private prison lobbyists, who advocate for policies such as Operation Streamline, Secure Communities, mandatory minimum sentencing, and others which target marginalized communities. The strength and viability of the prison industrial complex relies on these lobbyists’ ability to manufacture a perceived need for state and federal government contracts with private prison companies under the guise of “safety” and “security.” With this institutional validation, they are able to exploit the underpaid labor of incarcerated people. The commodification of Black and Brown people is supported by both the State and private companies who invest money into CCA and GEO. A number of financial investment companies, including those on our list of proposed targets for divestment, spend over $467,000 lobbying the state, $45 million lobbying the federal government and making campaign contributions to sustain the lobbying efforts of CoreCivic and GEO. By withdrawing its implicit endorsement of state violence, defined by its investments in companies which uphold it, Georgetown will affirm its commitment to reconciling its history of slavery. It will also affirm its commitment to the realization of Black, and thus collective, liberation.
- Divestment from companies consistently and knowingly involved in ongoing international law and human rights violations in the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. We demand that Georgetown divest any holdings it may have in companies that (1) facilitate the collective punishment of Palestinian civilians, (2) contribute to forcible displacement of Palestinians; (3) contribute to or maintain the settler colonies within the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem; or, (4) contribute to the construction or maintenance of the Annexation Wall in the West Bank. With 100 years since the Balfour Declaration and 50 years since the occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, it is clear that the condemnations from various international bodies including the United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, and the International Court of Justice, and evasive calls for a “peace process” and “dialogue” between a colonized people and their colonizer have failed as the displacement and destruction of Palestinian communities characteristics of the occupation persists. In the meantime, United States’ diplomatic immunity and $38 billion in military aid to the state of Israel enables the dispossession, arbitrary imprisonment and captivity, humiliation, and extra-judicial assassination of Palestinians. We refuse to allow our university’s continued support and collaboration in the violent Israeli military occupation, and recognize divestment as a means to dismantle the violence enacted on Palestinians living in their homeland. We proudly bring forth this campaign and join a growing international movement in support of the call for divestment and the full liberation for the Palestinian people.