The Uyghur genocide university divestment movement is here

In 2021, students in universities across the country are organizing to protest China’s ongoing genocide against Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., may have just scored the movement’s first big success. On Oct. 18, the student government association unanimously passed a resolution calling on the university to divest any and all of its financial holdings connected to Xinjiang atrocities. In response, university officials told student leadership, and confirmed to me, they have commissioned an independent audit of endowment holdings for anything related to mass internment, forced labor, mass surveillance or other crimes committed against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China…

Rory O’Connor, an Athenai co-founder who helped draft the resolution, told me the campaign began with conversations among regular students in dorm rooms, hallways and cafeterias, all of whom became more and more shocked by the Chinese government’s actions. The university’s agreement to audit its endowments is positive, he said, but what it ultimately does with results remains to be seen.

“This is the first university in the United States to commit to divesting from companies that are complicit in the genocide,” said O’Connor. “We’re definitely going to hold them to it.”