Occidental College bans investments in assault weapons companies

Stefanie Botelho's picture

The recent move by Occidental College trustees came at the urging of faculty members who were horrified by the December 2012 massacre of 26 students and staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and other mass shootings.

“It’s a statement of principle about the mission of higher education to be a voice of reason in a world of a lot of violence,” said Occidental politics professor Peter Dreier, who was a prime mover on the issue with religious studies professor Dale Wright. Colleges and other schools should “be held to a higher standard in their investment portfolios,” Dreier said.

Occidental College found that its endowment does not have investments in companies that manufacture military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition for public sale, and its board of trustees voted to ensure that it stays away from any such stocks in the future, according to trustees Chairman Christopher Calkins.

The trustees were swayed by the fact that colleges, high schools and elementary campuses have more frequently become targets for such mass shootings, Calkins said.

Those assault weapons “in private hands pose a particular risk to these institutions. We felt it was important to take a position on it,” he said.

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