Board of Trustees acts against companies operating in Sudan

By Kathleen Foody

CHICAGO – The Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution Thursday morning that will eliminate investments with four companies who operate portions of their businesses inside Sudan, a total of $2.2 million.

The sale will cost the University $5,500 – $2,500 for the actual trading of the investments and $3,000 to subscribe to an organization that monitors whether companies operate within Sudan.

President B. Joseph White said seven states and 40 universities have already chosen to stop investing with companies who operate within the country due to its government’s actions in Darfur, declared genocide by the U.S. Congress in 2004 and again by President George Bush in 2005. Illinois was the first of the seven states to do so.

University finance officials will contact the companies in question individually. If the companies do not respond or maintain their operations within Sudan, the investments must be sold by June 30.

The profits from the investments will be reinvested in other companies.

Trustee James B. Montgomery called the move “very important” and credited University students for bringing the issue to the attention of the community.

White briefly updated the board on the progress of the Global Campus Initiative and said a budget proposal for the fiscal year 2008 will be presented at its July meeting.

The key challenge facing administrators is “maintaining momentum and minimizing fixed financial commitments,” White said.

The initiative is scheduled to launch in January 2008. The board will be asked to approve two new positions for marketing and technology in connection with the Global Campus Thursday afternoon. The positions specify a five-year contract, but can be cancelled at anytime with 30 days notice, White said.

The potential nursing program is the furthest along, but three education programs are also expected to be ready for the scheduled launch, in addition to ten others still in discussion, White said.

Self proclaimed Ku Klux Klan, KKK, spray-chalker Raymond Morales addressed the board during public comments, requesting an inquiry into hiring practices he finds questionable.

Morales said he had been removed from his work in a lab within the College of Medicine.

Trustee Frances Carroll requested Chancellor Richard Herman set up a meeting between Morales and herself.

The board will consider the remainder of its agenda this afternoon, including a potential tuition increase for the 2008-2009 school year and a $5 per semester sustainability fee approved by students during this year’s student senate elections.

See DailyIllini.com for an update on the meeting this afternoon and a full story tomorrow.