Universities Should Protect Their Students, Not the Gun Lobby!

Students at Boston University learned this week that the gun violence that directly affects them, their friends, and their communities is not severe enough to warrant that the school divest from companies that profit from that destruction.

Right after the shooting massacre of 20 children and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut — a town several current BU students call home — the university started an advisory committee for socially responsible investing and even invited three students to join. The recommendation to divest from gun manufacturers was the first proposal the advisory committee made. It was rejected by the trustees in December.

Here’s what you may not know: Many of our school endowments are invested in companies that make guns and ammunition and lobby against common-sense gun laws that would make us all safer. The profits from these investments may build a new wing of the university hospital to treat gunshot victims. Contributions alumni make could be indirectly paying for gun industry executives to meet with senators on Capitol Hill to convince them to vote NO on background checks for people who want to buy guns, just like they did after the Newtown shooting.

While our elected officials remain blinded by the gun lobby’s money and influence, our generation continues to be devastated by gun violence. In the 2 years since the massacre in Newtown, there have been over 100 school and university shootings. Every student knows what a lockdown drill feels like, and increasingly we have been through a live lockdown with an active shooter on our campus. This year, gun violence will replace car accidents as the leading cause of death for millennials. Cars are highly regulated. Guns, not so much.

Despite this disturbing trend, young Americans refuse to accept this violence as an inevitability: We’re standing up, speaking out and demanding action. On campuses across the country, divestment has become a powerful tool for students to push for meaningful change.

Boston University students are now calling on the university to reevaluate its decision, asking the trustees not “to be on the wrong side of history.” As editors from BU’s student-run newspaper, the Daily Free Press, wrote,

It’s upsetting that the board believes that generations to come would judge them more harshly for divesting from gun companies than for continuing to support them. There is a clear generation gap in a rapidly changing world — they can’t escape the social consequences of this decision.

No university should ever fund an industry that profits from violence against its students, as the gun industry does. The fight to end gun violence starts with us — with our friends, on our campuses. Our universities need to know that we won’t continue to be complicit in helping to perpetuate the violence killing our friends and classmates.

Get involved. Make a difference.

markruffalo: genprogress: This year, students at the University of California Santa Barbara voted to divest their university’s endowment away from the gun industry. | Common-sense gun legislation won throughout the country in 2014. 2014 was a great year but I’m looking forward to seeing more of this in 2015. Big thanks to Mark Ruffalo for helping to share the great news about the student movement to #divestguns!

markruffalo:

genprogress:

This year, students at the University of California Santa Barbara voted to divest their university’s endowment away from the gun industry. |Common-sense gun legislation won throughout the country in 2014.

2014 was a great year but I’m looking forward to seeing more of this in 2015.

Big thanks to Mark Ruffalo for helping to share the great news about the student movement to divestguns!

Students Rising Up!

Students Rising Up!

Congratulations to the University of California, Santa Barbara students and their peers at UC, Irvine! Both student governments recently voted to pass a resolution demanding the $88 billion university endowment be completely divested from the gun industry.

Student resolutions at both schools named three publicly traded gun companies (Smith & Wesson, Sturm Ruger, and Olin), Cerberus Capital Management (owner of Freedom Group, maker of the assault weapon used in the Sandy Hook School massacre in December 2012), and Cabela’s (a firearms retailer and major donor to the NRA).

The resolutions further demanded transparency from the university’s Chief Investment Officer about past investments in the gun industry, and a formal ban on investments in these companies in the future.

“I grew up in a community where children and families of color disproportionately suffer from gun violence,” said Paola Dela Cruz, the student senator who introduced the resolution. “As I transitioned into college, my new community was faced with a gun violence tragedy. I am proud of the UCSB Associated Students Senate for passing this resolution and taking a positive step towards preventing gun violence.”

Read Bob Weiss’s (father of Veronika Weiss, who was murdered in the Isla Vista Shooting) statement to the University of California on why it should divest.

For more on the movement to DivestGuns from college endowments, go here.

Read our press release and the resolution passed by AS Senate at UCSB.

Father of Murdered Student to the University of California: “Divest now!”

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To honor classmates murdered in the Isla Vista Shooting, students at the University of California – Santa Barbara took a bold stand against gun violence and voted to ban investments in the gun industry.

The following is a statement from Bob Weiss, the father of Veronika Weiss who was murdered in the shooting. It was read at the Associated Students’ vote by UCSB student, Sydney: 

On the evening of Friday, May 23rd, my daughter and 2 friends were walking back to their Sorority House from dinner in Isla Vista.  A troubled young man with 3 guns and 400 rounds of ammunition pulled up to the curb in his car, unrolled his window and fired 17 shots at the three girls.  Katie was shot in the eye and died almost instantly. 

Veronika was hit 7 times. The bullet that killed Veronika entered the side of her chest and traversed her upper body, destroying both her lungs and heart. She died about 15 minutes later, drowning in her own blood. 

Bianca, the third student, sustained several wounds, fortunately, none lethal.  She survived.  

The agony of losing our beloved daughter is constant and unbearable. Our lives will never be the same. The pain is indescribable and relentless. Our lives are shattered. 

As parents of a victim of a gun violence murder at a University of California it sickens us that the University could be invested in firearm manufacturers.

With over 30,000 gun-related deaths every year and school shootings occurring almost monthly, the gun industry has blood on its hands.  The University of California should act as a leader and ban investments in the gun industry. Divest now!

We Won! Jay Leno Cancels Appearance at Gun Industry Trade Show

We Won! Jay Leno Cancels Appearance at Gun Industry Trade Show

A brief campaign by three gun violence prevention groups — Campaign to Unload, Newtown Action Alliance, and Coalition to Stop Gun Violence — succeeded in convincing Mark Twain Award-winning comedian Jay Leno to pull out of a planned performance at the gun industry’s largest trade show. Congratulations to all the activists who pressured Mr. Leno via our petition and social media. Your voices were heard!

From Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy:

Update: Late Wednesday, Jay Leno said in a brief phone interview that he had called the National Shooting Sports Foundation to cancel his scheduled performance at the SHOT Show. He also said that he’d spoken with Po Murray of the Newtown Action Alliance to let her know. “I understand it’s Newtown, and of course I get it,” Leno told Mother Jones. “It’s just sometimes, mistakes get made.”

Campaign to Unload’s statement: “I’m grateful that Jay has seen the NSSF for what it really is: a corporate lobbying group that puts money over morality, no matter how many families are destroyed by its products,” said executive director Jennifer Fiore.

Here’s the original petition: Tell Jay Leno: Cancel Your Appearance at the 2015 SHOT Show