The resolution passed after an 8-hour meeting, following a series of failed attempts dating back to 2002.
“By passing [the resolution] what we are saying to Palestinian students is we acknowledge for the first time that this is an issue that deeply affects their everyday campus experiences, and that the broader campus owes it to them to have a real institutional conversation about it. Nowhere in that validation and humanization of one group of students does this resolution isolate or marginalize another group.”
— student government member Hafsa Tout
The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government is calling on university leaders to investigate divestment from companies that do business with Israel.
UM’s student government passed the motion with 23 members voting in favor and 17 against the motion stating that three companies “violate Palestinian human rights,” while five members abstained.
The meeting stretched nearly eight hours — the longest in student government history — before a vote was conducted under secret ballot, which was done after much debate to protect pro-Palestinian and divestment members from being subject to damaging online blacklists.
The resolution was passed to investigate divesting in Israel after 10 previous attempts since 2002. The vote tally was dramatically different than last year’s resolution, which was voted down 34–13.
Brought to the assembly by the student organization Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE), the resolution included companies like Boeing, Hewlett-Packard and United Technologies – all of which SAFE alleged contributed to the attack on Palestinians in occupied territories. SAFE had brought similar resolutions before CSG since 2014 that were voted down.
SAFE called on the university to divest from companies that “presently, or in the future, profit off of the human rights violations committed by Israel and that aid in the occupation and apartheid system that Israel maintains against the Palestinians.”
With a near-capacity crowd of around 400 in attendance, Palestinian students and supporters of the SAFE resolution erupted in applause, embracing one another, while others broke into tears to conclude an emotional evening that began at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, when the resolution passed at around 3 a.m. Wednesday.