Public Universities and the Mass Murder in Gaza

The pro-Palestinian encampment movement was sparked by students at elite, Ivy League schools. Now, however, scores of public university students from UC Berkeley to UNC Chapel Hill, and from UT Austin to the University of Minnesota, have joined their ranks.

Of course, it is no surprise that the presidents and trustees of schools like Columbia and Yale are connected by a thousand-and-one strings with war profiteers, but some may be shocked to learn that the same is true for public universities.

BlackRock notoriously invests in war profiteers like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, and General Dynamics. / Image: Dazzling4, Wikimedia Commons

Take Arizona State University, which prides itself as “#1 in Innovation.” The university’s endowment surpassed $1.5 billion last year, putting it among “the industry’s” most well-funded research universities in the US and Canada. Who manages ASU’s endowment? At first glance, it’s the ASU Foundation for a New American University. However, the Foundation outsources management to BlackRock, which notoriously invests in war profiteers like Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, and General Dynamics.

Actually, this isn’t so unusual. In 2022, some 33% of “non-profit” endowments and foundations utilized OCIO (outsourced chief investment officer) mandates. In fact, BlackRock alone controls over $280 billion in such mandates. In other cases, BlackRock offers to invest a fraction of a university’s endowment in greenwashing. The killer profits might be in munitions, so why not get brownie points by divesting from fossil fuels?

Regardless, the armored Caterpillar D9R bulldozer, which the IDF uses to demolish Palestinian homes and olive trees with deadly force, still runs on fossil fuels. So do Boeing war planes, and Raytheon guided missiles. Wouldn’t you know it—these are just a few of the war profiteers who are partnered with ASU’s AZNext Program, which is a direct employment pipeline to “advanced manufacturing” careers. Of course, not every corporation in this public-private collaboration makes its money in murder, but it’s a clear indication of how closely bound up “neutral” institutions like public universities are with the war in Palestine.

Maybe it’s far-fetched, but could it be that ASU President Michael Crow has a material interest in defending Israel? After all, he’s the Chairman of the Board of In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital arm in Big Tech.

Public universities, despite their “non-profit” status, are in effect state-owned corporations. The Divulge & Divest movement cannot entrust divestment to the likes of Michael Crow. Yes, “Genocide” Crow has got to go—and replaced with committees of action composed of students, faculty, and staff, and representatives from the trade unions, who can utilize these immense resources for human need, not blood-soaked profits.

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