2002 Shareholder Resolution
On Nov. 18, Swarthmore informed Lockheed Martin of its intent to refile a shareholders resolution urging the company to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in its equal employment opportunity policy. Three days later [as reported in the Washington Post], the company announced in an e-mail to employees its plans to add sexual orientation to the policy. The decision demonstrates the influence colleges and universities can exert to bring about social and ethical change in society.
The college first presented its resolution at the company's annual shareholders meeting in San Diego on April 25. Although the resolution was rejected by the majority of shareholders, it exceeded the minimum percentage of votes required for the college to resubmit it.
The resolution - the first in the country solely initiated by a college or university since the anti-apartheid movement in the 1980s - is the work of the college's Committee for Socially Responsible Investing. The committee, chaired by Harvard University Business School professor emeritus and Board of Managers member Samuel L. Hayes III, a member of the Class of 1957, is composed of students, college administrators, and members of the Board's Investment Committee. The committee prepared the resolution in consultation with the Equality Project, a non-profit organization in New York devoted to securing equality in the workplace for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered employees.
After the college first introduced its resolution, Lockheed was facing increasing pressure to change its policy from its employees in GLOBAL [Gay, Lesbian or Bisexual at Lockheed Martin]. Also, in August, the company received a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington, D.C.-based gay rights advocacy group.
In 2004, the Socially Responsible Investing Committee succeeded in getting two more Fortune 500 companies to broaden their equal opportunity policies to bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation: Dover Corp., a New York-based manufacturer of industrial products, and Masco Corp., a Taylor, Mich.-based manufacturer of home consumer products. Both companies report billions of dollars in annual sales and have operations throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia.