Staff Editorial: Come clean on Darfur

After three Hatchet inquiries and pressure from GW Students Taking Action Now: Darfur, University administrators continue to claim that they are unsure as to whether GW holds investments in the Sudan that may indirectly fund genocide in its western region of Darfur. The fact that administrators still claim ignorance about their own investments – regardless of whether the University would actually pursue a policy of divestment – seems like nothing more than an attempt to stall having to take a concrete stance on the issue.

In December of last year, this page, while not explicitly supporting divestment, called on campus Darfur activists to work diligently to bring the issue of divestment to the attention of the GW administration. They did just that. The administration’s response – as it was to The Hatchet – was extremely ambiguous.

It is unclear whether divestment is the best option for GW or for the people of Darfur. Some, including our own President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, note that divestment has little effect other than reducing American influence in foreign countries. Others claim that choking off the Sudanese government from foreign investment will hinder its ability to continue genocidal practices.

Whatever the case, Executive Vice President and Treasurer Louis Katz could end the campus debate by taking a final stance on the issue. Most of his comments seem to allude to the fact that GW would not pursue divestment even if it finds that it is invested in companies operating in the Sudan. If divestment is not even an option, then he should come out and say that, rather than alluding to “complexities” and other ambiguities that only serve to further draw out this process.

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