GUSA passed legislation to address Georgetown’s endowment in companies related to the genocide and repression of Uyghur Muslims in China, as well as confirmed a new senator to fill a vacancy for the class of 2023 in their meeting on Jan. 31.
GUSA introduced and unanimously passed a singular piece of legislation at the meeting to demand that the university divest its endowment from companies and investments in Chinese firms that support the genocide of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, China.
Xinjiang, China, is home to over 12 million Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic minority. In 2018, the UN human rights committee found credible reports of severe human rights violations in the form of Uyghur Muslims being held in “forced re-education camps.” Reports of forced labor, organ harvesting, and other atrocities have been ongoing since 2018. Countries like the United States and Germany have been outspoken in their condemnation of the genocide.
The resolution was brought to GUSA by the Muslim Student Association and the Hong Kong Student Associationwho wrote a letter advocating for divestment. It was then sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Nirvana Khan (SFS ’24), Dominic Gordon (SFS ’24) and Manahal Fazal (SFS ’24). It calls on the university to be transparent about the endowment, which is not public, and to divest from complicit companies, like Tesla and Airbnb.
It clarifies by urging the university to “either directly divest from these companies and entities or exercise their influence as investors, or calling on external fund managers to exercise their investor influence.”
Rory O’Connor, a second-year student from Catholic University, spoke at the meeting in favor of the resolution, pointed out that other universities have already taken steps to address their connection to the genocide. Yale has committed to analyzing its endowment, and Catholic University committed to divesting in response to unanimous student demands.
“Georgetown University has a large endowment, and it’s not particularly transparent.” O’Connor said. “The point of this resolution is to ensure there will be transparency of university funds and holdings in regard to this issue.”
GUSA also unanimously confirmed Otice Carder (COL ’23) to fill the vacancy left by Thomas Leonard. Following his induction, Carder introduced himself and shared that he transferred last semester. “I just wanted to get involved to uplift marginalized communities and their voices.” Carder said.
GUSA will meet again next Sunday, Feb. 6 at 5 p.m.