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UC Santa Barbara student leaders vote down divestment resolution

April 11, 2013|By Stephen Ceasar

This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details

Elected student leaders at UC Santa Barbara voted down a resolution early Thursday that would have urged the UC system to divest from companies said to profit from anti-Palestinian Israeli policies.

The controversial resolution failed after being debated through Wednesday night and into the morning.  The vote was 11 opposed and 10 in favor, with one abstention.

The proposed resolution would have called for the UC system to end investments in such companies as Raytheon and General Electric that provide technology, weapons or other products that the Israeli military uses in the Palestinian territories.

Student governments at several other UC campuses have adopted similar resolutions for divestment that supporters describe as efforts to stand up for human rights for Palestinians. 

Those advisory measures have no power over the UC regents, who control the university’s massive portfolio and have repeatedly said they will not take any divestment action involving Israel.

After previous efforts, university officials cautioned that divestment is a complex matter that should be pursued rarely and only when the U.S. government deems that a foreign regime is committing genocide. 

Students for Justice in Palestine, a campus group that sponsored the resolution, said in a statement that although the vote did not go their way, they are pleased that it raised discourse on the issue on campus and around the UC system.

“These efforts in solidarity with those under occupation will continue,” the statement read.

Last week, UC Riverside’s student government revoked a prior divestment resolution. Student leaders moved to drop the resolution after sensing that it marginalized Jewish students on campus.

The student governments at UC Berkeley and UCLA may take up similar resolutions in coming weeks.

For the record, 10 a.m., March 26: A previous version of this post said the vote was 11 in favor and two opposed to the resolution, with one abstention.  The vote was actually 11 opposed and 10 in favor, with one abstention.


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