Brown University Students on Hunger Strike, Urge School’s Divestment from Pro-Israel Companies

United States North America Higher Education News by Erudera News Feb 09, 2024

Brown University

A group from Brown University students started a hunger strike on Friday, February 2, calling on school to fully divest its endowment from businesses that support and benefit from the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The strike, under the title “Hunger Strike for Palestine,” was organized by Brown’s Palestine Solidarity Caucus and Jews for Ceasefire Now, Erudera News reports.

These groups are calling on the Ivy League school to play its role in promoting the end of the war in Palestine by fully withdrawing their endowments from companies benefiting from human rights abuses in Palestine.

The group of 19 students consists of four students from Palestine, six Jewish students, and nine from several allies and student groups operating on campus. According to them, this is the largest hunger strike in the United States, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza since the war started on October 7, 2023.

Strikers say they will not eat until the entire body of the Brown University Corporation addresses their concerns and considers a proposal on divestment, The Guardian reports.

“Organizing has been going on for over 10 years on this campus around this issue. We’ve had vigils, we’ve held various programs to get students tuned in, and since October 7, it escalated to sit-ins where, at this date, 61 students have been arrested,” Niyanta Nepal, one of the students participating in the strike, told the newspaper.

She went on to say that students had informed the university about their stance and their demands. Therefore, the next step, according to them, was to launch a strike.

Striking students argue the divestment resolution should reflect the 2020 report published by the Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies (ACCRIP) in January 2020. The current name of this committee is Advisory Committee on University Resources Management.

The major point of that proposal was divestment from businesses facilitating human rights abuses in Palestine.

“Any company that profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land is complicit in human rights abuses. If Brown University is directly invested in such companies, it certainly has the moral duty to break any financial relations with them,” the report said.

Over 27,121 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces between October 7, 2023 and January 28, 2024, including more than 10,000 children.

Since the war between Israel and Hamas began in early October 2023, Brown University has become a center of protests against the Gaza war. Over the past months, more than 60 students have been arrested during several protests.

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