April 15, 2008

University of Florida SDS on Hunger Strike for Socially Responsible Investment

For the past year UF SDS has been working on a campaign that would ensure UF’s 1.2 billion dollar endowment is not invested in war, environmental destruction, and human rights abuses. We took on this campaign because it looked like a practical and achievable goal that would help our movement in its fight for a more just, sustainable society. After a year of working on this issue and being consistently ignored, misrepresented, patronized, and denied, we felt it was time to bring the campaign to the next level. We considered a multitude of different options and finally decided that a hunger strike had the best potential to achieve our desired result.
On April 9th, 2008, members of UF SDS shared a “last supper” on the steps of Tigert Hall. 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 Socially Responsible Investing proposal is accepted by the University of Florida. We need your help in letting the administration know that they can no longer ignore us and our proposal.
We are aware of the seriousness of the step we have taken, and can only reiterate the seriousness of the problem we are confronting - the systematic subjugation of people, cultures, and ecosystems before the almighty dollar. This system operates because it is profitable, and it is profitable because everyday people and institutional investors like UF have sacrificed their own values to cash in on the madness. Our proposal is an attempt to disconnect UF from this cycle and restore some sense of dignity and honor to higher education in the US.
Call school president Bernie Machen and let him know what you think about his refusal to put UF’s money where its mouth is. Ask him if he thinks it is okay if our university is profiting off of war, environmental destruction, and human rights abuses.
Phone: (352) 392-1311
Fax: (352) 392-9506
Email: President@ufl.edu
Office of the President, 226 Tigert Hall, PO Box 113150,
Gainesville, FL 32611
Other administrators you can talk to:
Student Body President: president@sg.ufl.edu
Office of Sustainability Director Dedee DeLongpre: dedee@ufl.edu, (352) 392-1336
Ask them to publicly declare their support for the hunger strikers and their SRI proposal.
Also, please sign our petition: http://www.petitiononline.com/srisds/petition.html
And, join the facebook group for updates: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=14624337562
Can you organize a call in and letter writing day with your chapter? Every little bit helps. Thanks for your support!
In solidarity,
Gainesville Area SDS
Here is a sample call-in or letter/email script:
Hello, my name is ________ from __________ (school). I am (calling/writing) to urge you to support the socially responsible investment proposal submitted to you by Students for a Democratic Society. Currently, the SRI policy passed by the Board of Trustees provides no measure of accountability to the students or the public. If the University of Florida is to live up to its mission statement of working for the public good, it must realize that its investments should be held to the same standard. I implore you to meet the demands of the students who are on a hunger strike and ensure that the University of Florida will remain at the forefront of the fight for sustainability and responsibility. Thank you.