The Daily Northwestern

Letter to the Editor: Sky and Em call for divestment from guns

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From the beginning, we’ve wanted our campaign to be about reclaiming power for students. We know that our strength is built from large numbers and coalitions across different communities on this campus that force the University to pay attention to the issues that we care about.

That’s why we’ve spent our campaign gathering signatures from students who agree that our university should be transparent about whether it profits from companies that manufacture guns — and we’re proud to announce that we’ve secured enough signatures for this vote to be placed on the same ballot to elect our next student body president this Thursday and Friday. As voters, we will choose whether or not we want Northwestern to disclose possible investments in firearms, as well as whether or not we want our University to divest from them.

America’s gun culture is one of oppression and inequality. It allows people of color to be executed in the street, while mass shootings by white supremacists are blamed on mental illness rather than on an industry that fetishizes guns and profits off bloodshed. That’s why as candidates and student activists, we’re calling for NU to reveal whether it’s invested in gunmakers and to divest from gun violence, and we’re asking you to vote on April 12 to cut off all financial support for gun manufacturers.

Investors in gun manufacturers prop up gun violence and the National Rifle Association. It’s time for us to ensure that NU isn’t supporting them.

Our University refuses to disclose which companies it invests its $10.5 billion endowment in. All we know for sure is that NU chooses high-performing stock portfolios of the most profitable companies available — this could possibly include private prisons and firearm manufacturers. The University still has not honored 2016 student demands to divest from private prisons. We must recognize that gun violence and mass incarceration are twin engines of a system that glorifies gun ownership for some and makes it a death sentence for others.

But now, students have a way to change this. The next student body president will have the power to appoint students to the Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility, which can decide where our University invests its funds. If we’re elected, we vow to appoint students to this committee who will demand transparency and honor the results of referendums like this one.

We’ve seen amazing student divestment campaigns in recent years, and we know that when students organize, we can reclaim power. Let’s build on the work of the activists that came before us and fight back against gun violence. On April 12, vote for Sky and Em, and vote to stop support for gun violence.

—Sky Patterson and Emily Ash
Matt Casler
Farrah Sklar
Maddie Gaines
Jillian Gilburne
Danny Cooper
Valen Marie-Santos
Jessica Saffold
And other members of the Northwestern Gun Reform Project

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