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2002 Shareholder Activism

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 theWashington Post, the company announced in an email to employees its plans to add sexual orientation to the policy.

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 - was the work of the College's Committee for Socially Responsible Investing. The committee of students, administrators, and Board members 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.

In 2004, the 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 United States, Europe, and Asia.