Announcement to the Middlebury College community re: violence in Darfur
April 26, 2006
President: College will not invest in companies that
support Sudanese government and policies in Darfur
The current violence in the Darfur region of the Sudan raises important questions related to international law and human rights. It also, yet again, raises troubling questions about the refusal of international organizations and individual states to intercede meaningfully to stop senseless killings and genocide, because such conflicts are declared to be "civil wars."
Whether it is Yugoslavia, Rwanda, East Timor, or Sudan, the inviolability of the sovereign nation-state prevents appropriate international action to end such senseless killing. Neither the Organization of African Union, nor the United Nations has chosen to take significant action to stop the bloodshed in southern Sudan, which continues unchecked, and has recently spread to neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic.
Recognizing the limited powers we as an institution have to address the larger question of how to stop the kind of violence we see in Sudan, the College decided to support the divesting of investments in companies whose business activities can be shown to support the Sudanese government and its policies in Darfur.
The Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees, with the assistance of College staff and its external investment consultant, has researched and reviewed Middlebury's direct holdings to identify any multinational companies that may provide the many factions that constitute the Sudanese Government with substantial financial resources. The College does not currently have direct investments in any such companies, and will prohibit future direct investment in them. The Investment Committee will share with College investment managers our desire to adhere to this investment philosophy in the hope that they will take into consideration our actions and the situation in the Sudan as they develop and implement their own investment strategies.
While this action is largely symbolic, it is an important statement, consistent with our educational mission to encourage Middlebury students who feel passionately about issues-such as this one-to exercise that passion in creative and productive ways. I thank students from the Sunday Night Group for engaging the College administration on this issue.
- Ronald D. Liebowitz