University of Houston (UH) students and community members attended the university’s Student Government Association (SGA) March 9th meeting to discuss SGAR-58009, a student body resolution “to urge the University of Houston to divest from militarism and endless war.”
“Every dollar spent on bombs dropped across the globe deepens the University of Houston's complicity in militarism, and endless war,” said Fuad Kirreh, a member of the Students for Justice in Palestine. “Each time Israel drops a bomb on a Palestinian family, the university profits. Each time Saudi Arabia drops a bomb on a school, a school bus or a hospital in Yemen, the university profits. Each time the police arrest Black and brown youth in the US, the university profits. Each time a migrant family is torn apart at the border, the university profits.”
According to the UH Divest Coalition, since 2016, the University of Houston has invested $7,607,364.40 in the world’s five biggest arms manufacturers: Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, General Electric, and Raytheon.
Several members of the Student Government Association expressed support for the coalition and its #DivestFromDeath campaign. A former SGA Speaker cited the Russian invasion of Ukraine in their comments. “We've seen a response to the conflict there that has been overwhelming... Why are we not seeing that same reaction [here that] we've seen [for Ukraine]?”
“We know that as each company gets more money, they are going to pursue new and innovative ways to harm, kill, and surveil marginalized communities," said Dara DeSiova, a UH Divest coalition organizer.
The coalition is demanding the university establish a committee for Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) and an SRI screening for future investment decisions. “[Having a committee for SRI would mean] that the university cannot put its money in companies that knowingly or willingly are complicit in human rights violations,” Kirreh said.
The Student Government Association will vote on the resolution at its next meeting on March 23, 2022.
The University of Houston has not made contact with the coalition on the matter and did not respond to our requests for comment.