Northwestern Divest to focus on G4S in current campaign


Zack Laurence/Daily Senior Staffer

Medill junior Zahra Haider speaks at Monday night’s “Decolonize Your Mind” event hosted by NUDivest. The organization announced its campaign to pressure the university to divest from security company G4S at the event.

Madeline Fox, Campus Editor

Members of Northwestern Divest announced Monday night its campaign will now have a specific focus on pressuring the University to divest from G4S, one of the world’s largest security companies.

The British multinational security company is one of six companies named in last year’s Associated Student Government resolution that called for University divestment from companies said to violate Palestinian human rights. The resolution narrowly passed last February after hours of debate during an ASG Senate meeting.

Medill junior Zahra Haider said that the campaign against G4S, specifically, is an extension of NU Divest’s larger divestment mission. The organization is targeting G4S and will focus its next campaign on construction machinery and equipment company Caterpillar.

“This (campaign) doesn’t change the aims of NU Divest but expands and further clarifies them,” said Haider, a member of NU Divest.

Northwestern Chief Investment Officer Will McLean told the Daily last May that NU likely has indirect investments in Boeing and Caterpillar, two of the six companies NU Divest has named.

“The aim of this event was to go over the points of our resolution and the demands that NU Divest has made and that the NU community has agreed and signed onto and to announce our new campaign against G4S,” Haider said.

Monday’s event included tables explaining the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, an international campaign calling for the boycott of and divestment from corporations and academic institutions directly involved in the occupation of Palestine.

In addition, members of NU Divest and MEChA de NU read poems and spoke on experiences of marginalization and denounced G4S for alleged human rights violations.

Weinberg junior Marcel Hanna, a member of NU Divest, detailed purported violations in Palestine, South Africa and the United States, saying attendees should “blame G4S for mass incarceration” as he said the company lobbies for harsher prison sentences in order to “keep these prisons full to keep up those contracts they have with the states (in the U.S.).”

After Hanna’s speech, members of NU Divest walked out and revealed black T-shirts bearing the slogan “NU Divest from G4S,” leading a chant of “Divest G4S.”

Weinberg freshman Adam Chanes said he attended the event because he had been doing research on his own about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after spending a year in Israel, including visits to the West Bank. Chanes said that while he didn’t agree with all aspects being presented at the event, he felt strongly about its mission.

“While I am not personally in favor of BDS, I came because I care about Palestinians, I care about the suffering they face,” he said. “As a Jew, I want to stand in solidarity with social justice movements in general.”

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