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UA Senate Supports Targeted
Divestment From Sudan

A motion supporting MIT’s targeted divestment from Sudan was passed unanimously last night by the Undergraduate Association Senate last night.

Last night’s resolution asked that divestment be targeted, though no particular model was endorsed after more than an hour of discussion.

Both sides of the debate over whether MIT should divest or not were represented at the meeting. Kayvan Zainabadi G, who drafted the original resolution, pointed out that the Sudanese military responds to rebel attacks with strikes on civilian targets. Also, he said, divestment does not affect the vast majority of citizens, most of whom are poor.

Mustafa G. Dafalla ’09, who is originally from Sudan, argued that deaths in Sudan result from civil war, not systematic genocide. He endorsed finding a constructive solution to solve the current situation in Sudan, saying that punishment against the government will be ineffective.

Zainabadi said that he “think[s] it [the UA resolution] passed unanimously because multiple people poked holes in the anti-divestment argument.”

“I’m really enthusiastic and just so happy … I think it sends a strong message that this is something that undergraduate students … feel strongly about and are not divided over …” Zainabadi said.

Dafalla could not be reached immediately for comment last night.

A decision on the resolution was tabled at last week’s Senate meeting. That original resolution did not specifically mention targeted divestment and asked that “MIT take actions to encourage corporate responsibility in Sudan, including divestment from offending companies doing business with the genocidal government of Sudan immediately (no later than December 31, 2006).”

The Graduate Student Council will consider supporting a resolution asking for MIT’s divestment from Sudan at a Wednesday, Dec. 6 meeting. As for whether the UA’s decision will sway the GSC’s eventual decision, Zainabadi said that “I think it [the UA resolution] sets a strong precedent.”

The MIT Corporation’s Advisory Committee for Shareholder Responsibility is currently considering whether MIT should divest from Sudan or not.

— Benjamin P. Gleitzman
and Marie Y. Thibault