SGLC Presents War Divestment Legislation to Board of Trustees

After passing war divestment legislation unanimously, the Student Government of Loyola Chicago has presented the initiative to the Board of Trustees.

The Student Government of Loyola Chicago (SGLC) has presented a war divestment initiative to the Board of Trustees. This legislation urges the university to remove investments from companies which profit from violence and war. 

Loyola Student Organizations including SJP, CSJ, and LUC Dissenters brought the issue to the attention of SGLC. SGLC passed the legislation unanimously in March 2022, The Phoenix previously reported.

The Board of Trustees is responsible for putting into action or denying the legislation proposed by SGLC. The Board of Trustees did not respond to requests for comment.

The Investment Office of Loyola manages the investments which are designated by the Board of Trustees. These investments go into the university’s endowment portfolio, which is where scholarships awarded by the school are drawn from. 

The resolution document states the goal of the legislation is “To call upon Loyola University Chicago to divest from companies that directly fund and aid in the environmental destruction and directed and systemic violence and murder of innocent peoples propogated by the U.S. war industry and military industrial complex.”

A third-year double major in history and theater, SGLC President Hannah Kwak said she helped write the legislation last year while she was serving as an SGLC senator.

Kwak said student organizations have been working for years to bring this issue to the attention of SGLC and the university. 

“While I am the person within SGLC who wrote the legislation when I was senator last year, I do not take credit at all for the insane amount of advocacy that has been done on this campus,” Kwak said. “All of these cultural organizations have been doing this for years, and they actually brought this to us through our Chief Equity Diversity and Inclusion Officer last year.”

The introduction of the war divestment legislation followed various anti-war protests which occurred on campus, including one hosted by the Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) in February 2022, The Phoenix previously reported

The Loyola University Chicago Dissenters have spoken of their agreement with SGLC legislation for war divestment, including posting a petition urging the board to act on the legislation. 

As a national organization, Dissenters works to divest from war profiting companies, and reinvest in companies which prioritize life and the health of the environment. LUC Dissenters defines themselves as “anti-militarist” and “anti-imperialist,” according to their Instagram

Jannah Abu-Khalil is a member of the Coalition for Solidarity and Justice (CSJ) and the president of SJP. The political science and criminal justice double major Abu-Khalil said she believes this issue is especially pertinent for Loyola because of the Jesuit values it strives to uphold. 

“These values ensure service and promote justice, and it appears to be critical that a Jesuit institution is investing in companies that perpetuate war,” Abu-Khalil said.

SGLC has been successful with divestment initiatives in the past, The Phoenix previously reported. In 2021, the university pledged to divest from companies which gained a majority of their revenue from fossil fuels and weren’t planning on transitioning to cleaner energy sources.

Kwak said this war divestment legislation is “riding on the back” of the fossil fuel divestment legislation which previously was passed by the Board of Trustees. 

This fossil fuel divestment legislation outlined plans to divest from companies that got a majority of their revenue from fossil fuels, and focused instead on investing more into companies which were working to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change, The Phoenix reported.

In 2015, SGLC attempted to rid the university of investments in violence when they presented a resolution to divest from companies which were profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palesitinian lands, according to The Phoenix

The 2015 legislation was passed through SGLC, but was never approved by the Board of Trustees.

Abu-Kahlil said she finds it frustrating how little transparency the Board of Trustees has with Loyola students.

“The Board of Trustees need to make a better effort reaching out to the student body and collaborating with us,” Abu-Khalil said. “It appears that they take on the legislation from the student government and they make the decision, and we are left out of the loop.”

It is unclear at this time whether the Board of Trustees will be willing to approve legislation such as this one, but Kwak says she is hopeful they will see the benefits of following through with the initiative. 

Kwak and Abu-Khalil said students who wish to support the cause should consider signing the LUC Dissenters petition.

Lilli Malone

Lilli Malone