The university’s Committee on Investment and Social Responsibility (CISR) accepted input from the student body until Jan. 27 on an October proposal submitted to CISR according to a Jan. 9 GUSA email.
CISR, an advisory committee for the university’s Board of Directors, makes recommendations and reviews proposals from the Georgetown community about socially responsible investments in order to make recommendations to the Board.
Last October, Eman Abdelfadeel (COL ‘17), Sophie Bauerschmidt Sweeney (COL ‘17), and Salma Khamis (SFS ‘17) submitted a proposal to CISR recommending that the school divest from all companies that profit from or sustain private prisons and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
CISR plans to review the comments submitted by the community along with the proposal before making a recommendation to the board about how they should address this concern about social responsibility in its investments.
The three students who submitted the October proposal have since formed GU Forming a Radically Ethical Endowment (GU F.R.E.E.), a campaign that demands Georgetown make its investments transparent and divest from companies that support or profit from state violence, specifically private prisons and the Israeli occupation of Palestine. According to Khamis, the CISR process took too long and was ultimately ineffective.
“We really didn’t think it was productive in the end, at this point they’re still reviewing our proposal, but because we realized they’re not a very efficient administrative body, we’ve decided to go the GU F.R.E.E. route,” Khamis said.
In its history, CISR has only received two student proposals. The first was submitted in early 2013, by what is now the student group GU Fossil Free (GUFF), requesting that Georgetown divest from fossil fuel companies. After two years, and a rewriting of this proposal, CISR made a recommendation to the Board of Directors, and in June 2015, the Board voted to divest from coal.
The proposal CISR received in October 2016 is still under review, as the committee believes it is necessary to hear community input because the proposal has the potential to be very controversial, according to CISR member Samantha Panchevre (SFS ’19).
“Our new kind of purpose, what we’re decided now, is that we feel like we should engage the community whenever we have these proposals because ultimately Georgetown’s investments say something about Georgetown and they say something about what the University supports or doesn’t support,” Panchevre said.
Since the University’s divestment from coal in June, 2015, GUFF has continued to work directly with administration and the Board of Directors on what is a working committee to develop a Socially Responsible Investment policy, according to GUFF member Grady Willard (SFS ’18). “Everything you can think of that has to do with ethical investing is under consideration [in this policy],” Willard said.
The university has yet to give a deadline on when this policy will be finalized and voted on by the board. What exactly is under consideration in the socially responsible investment policy has not been released.