Brown University to divest from companies with Sudanese government ties

Brown University announced Saturday that it will divest from companies tied to the Sudanese genocide, 10 days after Yale made a similar promise.

The Brown Corporation pledged to exclude any such investments from its portfolio, though, unlike Yale, it has not yet identified a specific list of target companies. The Providence, R.I., university’s pledge will affect all future investments, including those made through its private managers.

“This is a critically important and strong statement by the university community regarding our abhorrence of the genocidal actions being supported and undertaken by the Sudanese government,” Brown President Ruth J. Simmons said in a press release.

On Feb. 15, Yale blacklisted seven companies accused of facilitating the genocide, though the University owned stock in only one of them at the time. On-campus activists said they think both schools’ statements are fueling national interest in Sudan.

“It would be great if Yale were involved in Brown’s decision, but it’s part of a greater movement,” said Ida Assefa ’08, a member of Students Taking Action Now: Darfur. “We want to harness all the energy and passion and activism that’s occurring on college campuses and translate that into national legislation that will have an effect on what’s occurring there.”

Aside from Yale and Brown, Harvard and Stanford universities, as well as Dartmouth and Amherst colleges, have pledged to divest from their holdings tied to Sudan. The states of Illinois, New Jersey and Oregon have also divested their pension funds from companies with ties to the Sudanese government, and a bill to be considered by the Connecticut State Senate Thursday would empower Yale’s home state to follow suit.

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