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Human rights? An end to war? An end to environmental destruction? Members of Students for a Democratic Society at the University of Florida are hunger striking for all three...
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Read more under the fold...
SDSers have been working for a year now, fighting to get their University's endowment — their own tuition dollars — invested in an ethical way. From their press release:
Our administration is not impressed by a recent student government referendum question we put on the ballot, which showed that 82% of voters support our proposal. Nor is it impressed with the list of other schools who have similar Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) policies, including Harvard, Yale, and Columbia University. The only thing that actually does impress itself upon our administrators is the bottom line, which is a wholly unacceptable position for an institution of higher education to take.
So starting a little more than a week ago, students went on a hunger strike: "At least 11 people have committed to some level of participation in this hunger strike, including some that will be consuming nothing but water until our SRI proposal is accepted by UF."
SRI, or "Socially Responsible Investment," is an increasingly popular demand placed on university administrations; it attacks the one area that the bureaucrats feel is most sovereign to them — the money. It forces them to live up to the lofty and feel-good language written in their charter and plastered on their PR brochures. The next logical demand, once an SRI is one, is establishing democratic control of the endowment. This can be attained through any number of methods, either setting up popular referenda, democratizing the Board of Trustees, or establishing a student-dominated committee with binding say on investment decisions.
Hunger strikes have a long and rich history of winning reforms on college campuses.
But they don't win without our help. That's why the hunger strikers are asking you to contact the University President, Bernie Machen, and tell him to stop using University funds for war profiteers and mega-polluters:
Phone: (352) 392-1311
Fax: (352) 392-9506
Office of the President, 226 Tigert Hall, PO Box 113150,
Gainesville, FL 32611
There's a sample call/letter script on the group's facebook page, here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=14939337501
(x-posted to For Student Power.)