- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 2, 2002

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Swarthmore College is using its stockholder status to press Lockheed Martin Corp. to adopt a nondiscrimination policy based on sexual orientation.

The Quaker-founded college in suburban Philadelphia has submitted a resolution calling on the Bethesda-based defense giant to add language to its equal employment opportunity policy specifically stating the company does not discriminate against homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people. Shareholders will vote on the measure at an April 25 meeting in San Diego.

"We hope that our actions will not only lead to change at Lockheed Martin but will also exert pressure on other Fortune 500 companies to update their policies and encourage colleges to use their power as shareholders for social good," said Morgan Simon, a Swarthmore sophomore who will represent the college at the meeting.

Lockheed Martin already has a comprehensive nondiscrimination policy in place that, though it does not explicitly mention sexual orientation, is all-inclusive, company spokesman Jim Fetig said yesterday.

"The proposed addition is not needed because harassment and discrimination of all kinds are already covered by existing policies," he said.

The college's Committee for Socially Responsible Investing, established four years ago and made up of students, college administrators and other officials, drafted the resolution.

It marked the first time a college or university had solely initiated a resolution since schools nationwide campaigned against companies who invested in South Africa before apartheid was lifted in 1994, said Carolyn Mathiasen of the Washington-based Investor Responsibility Research Center, which monitors shareholder and management proposals.

"These resolutions never get very large votes it's good if you get a 15 percent vote [in favor of] a social issue but don't think that means corporations don't pay attention to them," Ms. Mathiasen said. Some companies have changed policies through negotiation before a proxy vote is held, though they aren't required to do anything, she said.

Swarthmore chose Lockheed Martin because of the perceived impact such a policy change would cause at a large, high-profile company, college officials said.

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