Tennessee students win a divestment fight–even though the school won’t admit it.
February 13, 2013
For Immediate Release
Contact: Zach Blume, Student Organizer, Vanderbilt Responsible Endowment Campaign
firstname.lastname@example.org / (401) 714-3118
Rose Espinola, National Organizer, Responsible Endowments Coalition
Around 50 students gathered in Wilson Hall Friday afternoon to learn more about issues of responsible investment of university endowments at a symposium put on by the Vanderbilt Students of Nonviolence.
Occupy Vanderbilt has sprung up seemingly from no-where. But there’s a story to how those students got angry and decided to take a stand. The students’ seven months of investigation into Vanderbilt’s investment with EMVest, along with years of investigation into Vanderbilt’s investments in HEI Hotels & Resorts, play a large role in that.
Some call it “new colonialism”, while some others call it “land grab” and “land rush”. There are many who would not use such pejoratives and would restrict themselves to investments on land, agri-business, foreign direct investment etc. Well, whatever we call it, the issue remains the same. I am referring to the large scale land acquisitions, mainly in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and South East Asia.
Editor's note: The following letter is written on behalf of the Oakland Institute's board of directors. The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think-tank based in California, whose research led to allegations that Vanderbilt's endowment is invested in exploitative "land grabs" in Africa.
To the editor:
Susan Payne, CEO of Emergent, promoting land investment in Africa. This video was downloaded from the Emergent website on December 20, 2010.
EmVest Asset Management is a joint venture between Emergent Asset Management and Grainvest, a subsidiary of the RussellStone Group. Based out of Pretoria, South Africa, EmVest operates the African Land Fund (ALF) and lists social responsibility as a guiding tenet of its investment strategy, citing a desire to bring “economic uplift to communities through commercially viable, first world practices.”