PI Original Mose Buchele Friday April 11th, 2008, 10:33am

City Council Denounces U of C Over Sudan Divestment Issue

The Chicago City council voted on Wednesday to denounce the University of Chicago for continuing to invest in companies that do business with Sudan. The resolution was introduced by Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd) and signed by 40 of the 50 aldermen.

At issue is the ...

The Chicago City council voted on Wednesday to denounce the University of Chicago for continuing to invest in companies that do business with Sudan. The resolution was introduced by Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd) and signed by 40 of the 50 aldermen.

At issue is the continued genocidal campaign being waged by the Sudanese government in Khartoum against tribes in the Darfur region of the country. In protest of the violence, many U.S. institutions have fully divested themselves of any business that may profit the Sudanese government. The University of Chicago has refused, claiming that to do so would imperil its political neutrality. But according to a statement from the U of C chapter of Students Taking Action Now: Darfur (STAND), the school administration has not even considered the issue in good faith:

University officials continue to maintain that a full and careful discussion took place over divestment, but STAND members disagree. “In the 1980’s when the University refused to divest from apartheid South Africa, the full board of trustees agreed to meet with a joint student-faculty delegation. All such attempts at getting a meeting with the full board this time around have been outright ignored. Until the full board meets with a joint student-faculty delegation, the issue of divestment is unresolved as far as I’m concerned,” [Stand Member, Kevin Koll] said.

In 2006, the State of Illinois divested its pension plan of any Sudan-related investments in protest of the Khartoum-sanctioned ethnic cleansing of Darfur. Both Northwestern University and the University of Illinois have fully divested as well.

In related news, Barack Obama said on Wednesday that the White House should consider boycotting this year's Summer Olympics in Beijing if the Chinese "do not take steps to help stop the genocide in Darfur and to respect the dignity, security, and human rights of the Tibetan people." Not suprisingly, considering Chicago's Olympics bid, Mayor Daley has voiced his opposition to the idea of a boycott this year, saying: "[T]he Olympic movement is not a political movement. It is not for the politicians. It’s not. It’s all about the athletes and harmony and competition."

Image used under a Creative Commons license by Flickr user Androfire

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