University of California Student Association board on Sunday called for the school’s board of regents to divest its endowment and other funds of U.S. government securities, according to a statement from the student group.
The Oakland-based university board of regents oversees $91 billion, including $71.8 billion in retirement funds.
The association voted 11-1 with three abstentions in favor of a resolution calling for divestment of securities of the governments of the U.S., Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Turkey and Sri Lanka because of acts of violence and human rights violations, the resolution states.
“The government of the United States of America is engaged in drone strikes that have killed over 2,400 people in Pakistan and Yemen, many of them civilians,” the resolution states. ”The government oversees, by far, the highest rate of imprisonment in the world, and racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately targeted by law enforcement agencies, particularly for drug-related offenses. 400,000 undocumented immigrants are held in detention centers every year, and millions have been deported since the current administration took office, and the government is directly supporting and propping up numerous dictatorships around the world with weapons sales and foreign aid.”
“Through its investments, the University of California is complicit in the human rights violations committed by the governments of Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Russia, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Mexico, and the United States, among others,” the resolution states.
“Investment in these governments shows implicit support for the decisions and actions of these governments, as well as their consequences, which include the killings of civilians … The only way to achieve financial neutrality in such situations is to end our investment in and implicit support for such governments through divestment.”
The resolution calls on the university “to divest all stocks and securities of such governments … in accordance with the fund trustees’ fiduciary duty, until they meet the University of California endorsed Principles of Responsible Investment.”
In addition, the association adopted a resolution calling for the university to divest from companies violating Palestinian human rights.
The resolutions mention the endowment but don’t mention the university retirement funds.
Shelly Meron, board of regents spokeswoman, said in an e-mail that the board hasn’t changed the policy on divestment it stated in 2010. That policy stated the board of regents would divest from holdings of a “foreign government or companies doing business with a foreign government only when the United States government declares that a foreign regime is committing acts of genocide.”
Representatives of the association couldn’t be reached for comment.