UC faces pressure to divest $32 billion in assets in response to pro-Palestinian advocates, but no immediate plans to comply.

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The University of California revealed on Tuesday that it holds $32 billion in assets that pro-Palestinian demonstrators are urging the university to divest from, which includes weapons manufacturers that supply Israel.

Despite recent protests and tent encampments throughout the UC system, a spokesperson reaffirmed on Tuesday that the university has no intentions of selling off these assets.

Jagdeep Singh Bachher, the system’s chief investment officer, presented the investment portfolio during a meeting on Tuesday with the investments committee of UC’s board of regents. The investments list addressed specific demands from protesters and encompassed various holdings, including U.S. Treasuries, which were included in response to the call for divestment from assets linked to Israel. “The U.S. government is the source of these investments,” Bachher stated in reference to the aid and weapons provided to Israel.

The investment breakdown includes:

  • $3.3 billion in weapons manufacturers
  • $12 billion in U.S. Treasuries
  • $163 million in BlackRock, an asset manager with shares in Israel-supporting companies
  • $2.1 billion in investments managed by BlackRock for UC
  • $8.6 billion in the investment firm Blackstone, also under protester scrutiny
  • $3.2 billion in 24 other companies targeted by protesters, such as Coca-Cola and Disney

“Based on the numbers, the letter suggests divesting $32 billion from the total $175 billion assets,” Bachher explained, in regards to the system’s complete investment holdings.

During Tuesday’s committee meeting, no steps were taken towards divestment, and there were no indications that it was under consideration.

A UC spokesperson reiterated the system’s opposition to divestment in a statement issued on April 26.

“The University of California has consistently rejected calls for boycotts and divestment from Israel,” UC stated in a release. “While diverse opinions are acknowledged, such a boycott restricts the academic freedom and open dialogue on our campuses.”

Calls for divestment from Israel aimed at UC and other universities have escalated recently with the spread of pro-Palestinian encampments and demonstrations across the country, including at various UC campuses like UCLA.

The encampments are driven by demands for divestment from companies engaged in significant business with Israel, as the protesters view universities as accomplices in Israel’s Gaza activities. Health authorities report over 35,000 casualties in Gaza, including numerous civilians. Israel’s Gaza bombardment followed the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, resulting in about 1,200 fatalities.

The financial disclosures on Tuesday followed an extensive public input period where numerous individuals advocated for UC to divest.

“I express my support for the Palestinian campers and faculty and strongly endorse their call to divest from military-related investments,” stated Darlene Lee, a UCLA faculty member and alum. “Education funding should prioritize education and community well-being, not warfare.”

The calls for UC’s divestment are expected to persist at the Wednesday regents meeting at UC Merced, where protesters have erected a pro-Palestinian encampment, making Merced the most recent addition to UC’s campuses with such a demonstration.

Organizers of the encampment, in an Instagram post, detailed their demands for UC to divest, advocate for a ceasefire in Gaza, and sever connections with Israel, including study-abroad programs.

“The UC regents are present on our campus… They will listen to us!” the organizers emphasized.

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