GU F.R.E.E. is a coalition of Georgetown University (GU) student groups, faculty members, and students who are concerned about GU’s investment practices and, specifically, the ways in which our $1.5 billion endowment may perpetuate state violence both within and beyond the United States. GU F.R.E.E. seeks to tackle our community’s complicity in state violence by calling for transparent access to the University’s investment portfolio, as well as calling for the divestment from any holdings GU may have in corporations affiliated with the U.S. private prison industry and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
On December 7th, 2016, GU F.R.E.E. delivered a letter to President DeGioia seeking confirmation that the University is not invested in a number of companies that are knowingly and consistently involved in human rights violations in the United States and occupied Palestine. On January 13th, 2017, GU F.R.E.E. received a response from Joseph Ferrara, Chief of Staff of President DeGioia’s office. In this email, Ferrara redirected GU F.R.E.E.’s inquiries regarding the University’s investment practices back to the Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility (CISR), an administrative body that GU F.R.E.E.-affiliated organizers have previously, and fruitlessly, sought to engage with on this matter. To clarify, the question of whether or not Georgetown is invested in a specific set of companies is beyond the scope of CISR’s stated mission: “making recommendations as to the university’s voting of shareholder proxies as well as considering written proposals from members of the Georgetown community on issues related to socially responsible investment.” Given that the University administration has had ample time to respond, and receiving no relevant response by this date, indicates to the GU F.R.E.E. Campaign that President DeGioia is unable to confirm GU’s noninvolvement in the perpetuation of global state violence.
Bearing in mind GU F.R.E.E.’s concerted effort to engage the GU administration through conventional avenues, we hereby announce the official launch of the GU F.R.E.E. Campaign. Today, GU F.R.E.E. proudly presents to the University community our official Campaign Platform and website. We invite all members of the GU community to consult our Campaign Platform, wherein we explain the validity and urgency of our demands to the University administration, as well as our vision for a more just, equitable, and conscientious GU investment policy.
GU F.R.E.E.’s vision emerges out of a global environment increasingly defined by widespread and multifaceted manifestations of state violence that often target society’s most vulnerable and marginalized communities. Although GU F.R.E.E.’s demands directly target corporations involved in two of the most widely-documented and egregious examples of this violence, the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the U.S. private prisons industry; we condemn any and all forms of state violence, wherever they occur, and whomever they target. GU F.R.E.E. looks forward to translating our Jesuit values of being men and women for others, espousing cura personalis, and working for faith and justice into practical application through GU’s investment policies.
There are various ways for you to support GU F.R.E.E. and ensure our community is in no way complicit in the perpetuation of state violence! For comprehensive resources and opportunities for further involvement, please visit our website. Our full-length Campaign Platform can also be accessed either through our official Facebook page, or on our website. This is a valuable resource detailing the ethical justification behind our demands, as well as delineating our vision for a more just GU investment policy. Signing one of these petitions is yet another avenue through which you can indicate your support. GU F.R.E.E. calls upon all of our allies to sign and share these petitions as an expression of solidarity and resistance in the face of the GU administration’s violent, unjust, and unethical investment practices.
GU F.R.E.E. welcomes the new Spring semester energized to continue our community organizing for a more just, equitable, and ethical investment policy at GU – one whose implications in no way perpetuate global state violence, and therefore proudly reflect our community’s Jesuit values.
For information on how to get involved with the campaign, or for any additional questions or media inquiries regarding this statement, please contact us through any of the following channels: