Letter to the Editor | Divestment is not in the best interest of our campus

By Melanie Kagan

Last week I was surprised to see in my dorm a group of students walking around and asking people if they “support human rights.” Who could say no to that? That is why many of the students around me rushed to sign the petition that was circulating. I looked at this petition a little more carefully.

The explanatory statement includes a link for a list of companies that this referendum would like Illinois to divest from. Companies like Caterpillar, which made the ACES library a reality on our campus. Companies like Boeing, which offers diversity scholarships and scholarships for women in the College of Engineering.

Many of the companies listed have ties with our University that go far beyond the University’s investment portfolio. They help with academic research; they support students that could not otherwise afford going to the University of Illinois; they sponsor programs that help us achieve the overall purpose of this University — making our world a better place.

This can lead to only one conclusion — divesting from these companies will be harmful for our campus. It will make our student body less diverse and less able to tackle the challenges of humanity.

Why is this group of students leading a charge that would hurt our campus then? They are focusing on one international conflict and try to manipulate our campus to take sides. This is an issue that the majority of people on our campus do not know enough about to make a spur-of-the-moment decision on.

This week, students on campus will be asked to support divestment. Vote no on this referendum. It does not represent the best interest of our student body.

Melanie is a freshman in Business. 

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