Obama’s first college pledges utterly futile ban on investment in scary gun companies

Font Size:

The mediocre private college that President Barack Obama attended from 1979 to 1981 before wisely transferring to Columbia University as a junior has now pledged to avoid investing in any company that manufactures what it deems military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines for sale to the general public.

Gun-control activists are lauding the move by Occidental College in Los Angeles as the first of its kind by any college or university in the United States, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Hilariously, the endowment of the liberal arts enclave currently has zero dollars invested in firms that make military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition for the unwashed masses.

Nevertheless, Christopher Calkins, the chairman of Occidental’s board of trustees, has promised that the college will never buy stock in such companies.

The push to make no change whatsoever to the composition of Occidental’s endowment came largely in response to faculty outrage over a recent rash of school shootings including the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, when psychopath Adam Lanza slaughtered 20 kids and six adult staffers.

“It’s a statement of principle about the mission of higher education to be a voice of reason in a world of a lot of violence,” Occidental politics professor Peter Dreier told the Times.

Calkins added that such weapons “in private hands pose a particular risk to these institutions.” Consequently, he said, trustees “felt it was important to take a position on it.”

An anti-gun political group, the Campaign to Unload, is attempting to bring about large-scale divestment from the U.S. gun industry. The group has scored successes outside of academia. For example, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System announced similar divestment plans last year.

Jennifer Fiore, the executive director of the Campaign to Unload, described the new Occidental policy in glowing terms. “I believe other campuses will take notice and see this as a step they can easily take as well,” she told the Times.

It’s not clear if Fiore knows that nothing was, in fact, divested from Occidental’s endowment (about $330 million as of 2012).

The National Rifle Association opposes arguments for divestment.

Endowment divestment is a popular demand among sloganeers on college campuses around the country these days. There are various causes. One somewhat loud one right now is divestment from certain energy companies because of the impact of coal pollution.

Last October, for example, a small group of pampered rich kids from Brown University tried to and failed force the Ivy League school to divest coal company assets from its endowment. (RELATED: Jet-setting students decry Brown University decision not to divest from coal companies)

Follow Eric on Twitter and on Facebook, and send education-related story tips to