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Senate supports Notre Dame divestment initiative

Kaitlynn Riely | Thursday, September 27, 2007

Student Senate unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday commending the University for divesting from companies that support the Sudanese government as human rights violations continue in the country’s Darfur region.

The resolution, presented by Social Concerns chair Karen Koski and Lyons senator Kelly Kanavy, urges Notre Dame’s Investment Office to continue divesting from companies that do business with the government of Sudan.

While she was researching the issue, Koski said, Notre Dame’s Chief Investment Officer Scott Malpass informed her that Notre Dame has already divested from companies that are involved in Sudan.

“This was a resolution encouraging the administration to keep it up, and the Student Senate is recognizing what a great thing this is and that we support it,” she said.

Kanavy gave a Powerpoint presentation to the Senate to explain the conflict occurring in Sudan and to show why it was important that Notre Dame removed shares and stocks from companies that pay money to Sudan.

The Sudanese government, Kanavy said, uses more than 70 percent of its income to fund the military, which it uses to attack its own citizens.

“This has been a major problem and a major humanitarian crisis that our world has had to deal with,” Kanavy said.

The resolution commending the University for its divestment is important, Kanavy said, so that in the future the Investment Office will avoid working with companies with ties to Sudan. She said the resolution will also remind the University to keep up with the list of companies involved in Sudan as it is updated.

“As a Catholic university, Notre Dame recognizes its obligation to help people in need no matter where they are,” Kanavy said.

The Senate passed four additional resolutions during its meeting. Three of the resolutions were amendments to the Student Body Constitution that corrected grammatical errors and made some editing adjustments.

The Senate passed a resolution congratulating the Keenan and Stanford residence halls, erected in 1957, for their 50th anniversary.

The Senate continued discussion of issues raised in past meetings. Carol Hendrickson, the chair of the Academic Affairs committee, said she is making the final steps toward sending out a survey to students about course packets, due to the increase in course packet prices from last year. She expects to present a resolution on the price increase in the coming weeks.

Residence Life chair Mariana Montes said she had a meeting with Phil Johnson, the director of the Notre Dame Security/Police, regarding the possibility of installing a blue emergency light in the D6 parking lot. Montes said Johnson was receptive to the idea.

Student body vice president Maris Braun said she and student body president Liz Brown met with Executive Vice President John Affleck-Graves about a resolution passed in the Senate last week asking the University to commit to reducing greenhouse gases.

Braun said the meeting was productive and that they brainstormed ways to publicize how Notre Dame is already working to reduce its impact on the environment.

In other Senate news:

u Brown announced that University President Father John Jenkins will visiting four dorms over the course of the year for informal discussions. Brown randomly chose Siegfried, McGlinn, Lewis and Sorin as the residence halls Jenkins would visit.