Release your report on the "land grabbing" company EMVest
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The wider Vanderbilt community, including other faculty who are not members of the Senate, has the right to evaluate the work of the Faculty Senate's "Strategic Planning and Academic Freedom" (SPAF) Committee which produced a report investigating the general investment procedure of Vanderbilt University, and its investment in the company Emergent Asset Management (now "EMVest") which has been alleged by two independent sources of coercively obtaining land, mistreating workers, and lying in public documents, and pursuing a generally unethical strategy of creating a land race in agricultural land which is vital to subsistence farmers in subsaharan Africa. Read Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food's response to this investigation as it has been described so far, and more general background about Vanderbilt's investment in this unethical cdompany.
This currently-withheld document is important to evaluate directly instead of relying on the public statement made by Dr. Weintraub summarizing the report which, importantly, quoted directly from the report but mostly was a interpretive summary. Although there is a "history of not discussing internal reports", in this case Dr. Weintraub quoted directly from the report when reporting to the public press and public Vanderbilt community members, and Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food organizers have spoken under public conditions with all three of the committee members, all meetings in which they extensively discussed the content of the report.
We are calling on you to release the report to the Vanderbilt community because of
(1) The extremely serious nature of allegations, not all of which, nor all the evidence pertaining to which, were addressed by this committee. There is a serious and important ongoing dialogue between administration, students, and other faculty around the school over the issue and many feel the Faculty Senate is not participating in this scholarly process in the optimal fashion by refusing to engage with it outside of producing the Dr. Weintraub's summary of the report.
(2) If there is a history of keeping reports internal, your members have already broken that tradition: through quoting it directly, and through discussing it extensively. In order to clear the air, the report should be released because relying on secondary sources of the report content is not a very scholarly endeavor and the conversation which will be moving forward will benefit from having another primary source in hand. Otherwise we will be forced to engage with and potentially critique the Faculty Senate based on this secondhand information.
(3) We are aware that nothing in the report is truly confidential (according to Dr. Weintraub, Chair of Senate; Dr. Atack, SPAF committee; Dr. Gerstle, SPAF committee), certainly not more than has already been non-confidentially released to Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food, who had a non-confidential conversation with Provost McCarty and Vice-Chancellor Wright about the specific investment and general procedure and has released this information about the investment to the Vanderbilt community.
-- Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food
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