In the case of Darfur, a variety of student groups, particularly Students Taking Action Now: Darfur, led the charge for divestment from all companies doing business in Sudan, which were thereby supporting Sudanese leaders who were perpetrating the genocide. The Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic at the Law School seems to have done much of the research, identifying companies to consider for divestment and bringing them to the ACIR. While their report did not specifically state which companies to divest from, they brought companies up who operated in a number of different sectors, besides oil, such as energy, telecom, weapons and bonds, and recommended they be reviewed for divestment or further shareholder action.[1]   

Ultimately, the ACIR recommended and Yale acted upon divesting only from seven oil companies doing business in Sudan, falling far short of what other institutions, including many state pension funds like those of Oregon and New Jersey, have done. (The ACIR admits this in their report). The ACIR created what they called a Watch List of companies it claimed should be looked into further and pressured not to do business in Sudan, but there has been no reported follow up or reporting out of the ACIR to suggest they’ve actually taken these steps – and it appears, from the Corporation’s press release on the matter, that they’ve taken no action beyond divesting from those first seven companies, either.[2]

Thus what we see is that, when the ACIR does decide to act and Yale follows its recommendations, it does so in only minimal ways. In divesting from the seven companies, what Yale actually did was put screens on them, and what was found was that “the University held only a small amount of one of the seven banned companies,” according to President Richard Levin.[3]

Additionally, last spring the Yale Daily News revealed that Farallon, one of the university’s major hedge funds, had placed a “put option” on several major stocks doing business in Sudan – thus continuing to make a profit for Yale off of the still ongoing genocide.[4] 

[1] Lowenstein Human Rights Clinic & Lowenstein International Human Rights Project, Yale Law School, “An Analysis of Select Companies’ Operations in Sudan: A Resource for Divestment,” 12/13/2005, online at http://www.law.yale.edu/intellectuallife/lowensteinclinic.htm.

[2] Yale University Press Release, “Yale Acts to Divest in Response to Darfur Genocide,” online at http://www.yale.edu/opa, 02/15/2006.

[3] Steven Siegel, “Fiscal ties to Sudan persist,” Yale Daily News, 02/26/2007

[4] Ibid.