Inside Rensselaer
Board of Trustees Votes To End Institute Investments in Sudan
During its May meeting, the Rensselaer Board of Trustees voted to adopt a divestment policy in the African country of Sudan, where over 400,000 civilians have been killed and 2.5 million have been displaced due to government-backed genocide and human rights violations in the Darfur region.

In recent years, the government of Sudan has been enriched by the influx of foreign investment, particularly in the oil, energy, and construction industries. The link between increased government revenue and the Sudanese government’s capacity to arm paramilitary groups has been well documented in studies conducted by the Lowenstein International Human Rights Project at Yale, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the Sudan Divestment Task Force.

“Through this vote to divest from Sudan, the Rensselaer Board of Trustees has demonstrated that the egregious situation occurring in the country’s Darfur region and the genocidal actions being supported and undertaken by the Sudanese government is in direct opposition to Rensselaer’s core principles,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson.

Rensselaer will follow a “Targeted Sudan Divestment Policy,” in the management of the Institute’s endowment and retirement plan assets, divesting holdings in companies with extensive ties to the Sudan government. The policy aims to have a maximum impact on the country’s leadership – which is extremely vulnerable to economic pressure – and minimal impact on ordinary Sudanese citizens and investment returns.

“The Investment Office has conducted a review of the Institute’s portfolio holdings and has identified exposure to three companies cited by the Sudan Divestment Policy Task Force as supporting the country’s government while providing minimal benefit to the bulk of the Sudanese population,” said Rensselaer Treasurer and Chief Investment Officer Walé Adeosun, “We have determined that divestment of these holdings would not have a detrimental effect on the Institute’s endowment performance or overall assets.”

Dartmouth College and Yale, Harvard, Stanford, and Brown universities, among others, have adopted similar divestment policies in response to the ongoing atrocities in Darfur, where the Sudanese government has been working with Arab militias to promote the ethnic cleansing of non-Arab Darfurians.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 1, Number 2, August 2007
©2007 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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