Dear President Veitch and VP Amos Himmelstein;
We are a collective of students concerned about the possibility of Oxy’s unethical investments in companies complicit in the human rights abuses perpetrated by the State of Israel. Students for Justice in Palestine, along with a wider coalition of groups, spent the past several months researching Oxy’s investment policies and assessing their commitment to social corporate responsibility. Through this research, it is apparent that Oxy practices selective transparency surrounding finances and lacks a clear framework for social corporate responsibility. Oxy successfully divested from military-style assault weapon manufacturers, but it failed to do the same with regard to South African apartheid and fossil fuels. We are calling for an end to this selective transparency and for an end to any Occidental College investments that uphold apartheid in Israel. Bearing the interest of the Occidental community in mind, we have formulated a list of demands that hold the administration accountable to the mission of the college.
1. Occidental College immediately withdraws investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds and other monetary instruments with holdings in the companies we have identified as being complicit in the State of Israel’s violations of international law and that it makes a public statement confirming divestment.
Occidental must confirm that it will not invest in these companies until they cease their operations in and profits from Israeli apartheid, or until the State of Israel dismantles its apartheid wall and occupation, promotes the rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality and allows Palestinian refugees to return as demanded by the larger Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions solidarity movement.
2. More transparency regarding Occidental’s investments.
We ask that Occidental makes available, to all members of the community, information about its investments and endowment in the spirit of transparency and mutual accountability.
3. The formation of an Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investment (or Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies).
This committee will conduct research on all holdings (direct and indirect) in order to determine if they are complicit in Israeli practices that are illegal under international law. Furthermore, we request the public availability of this research in pursuit of a socially responsible commitment to transparency and neutrality. This Committee will also guide future investments and assess social harm related to the college’s monetary practices.
In particular, we call for the targeted divestment from eight specific companies as listed in the #OxyDivest handbook. These demands were formulated based upon the continued and ever-increasing human rights abuses and apartheid policies in the State of Israel, and the belief that our education should not come at the expense of Palestinian lives. The call for #OxyDivest has now received endorsements from various student organizations, as well as the two relevant branches of our student government, ASOC Senate and ASOC Diversity and Equity Board. We have received further support directly from members of the Oxy community, including students, faculty and alumni. We sincerely hope you will heed this call of the Oxy community and work alongside us to end any complicity in apartheid in Israel. We recognize that President Veitch’s time at Oxy is coming to an end, and hope you will provide the future president with the necessary information and support to continue this work. We look forward to hearing from you and moving forward in this process.
Occidental Students for Justice in Palestine
Students for Justice in Palestine is part of a larger movement of solidarity with Palestinians, advocating for the end of the occupation and colonization of Palestinian land by Israel, recognition of the fundamental rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel, and the right of return for Palestinians and their descendants displaced from their homes since the Nakba.