Divestment resolution shot down at U of Michigan

Divestment resolution shot down at U of Michigan

Student assembly votes 25-9 against shunning companies which Palestinian supporters say violate human rights

Students on the University of Michigan campus (screen capture: YouTube)
Students on the University of Michigan campus (screen capture: YouTube)

A resolution at The University of Michigan seeking to divest from several companies that work with Israel was shot down by the student assembly late Tuesday night, with 25 voting against the motion and 9 supporting it, student newspaper the Michigan Daily reported.

The Central Student Government resolution was pushed by pro-Palestinian student group Students Allied for Freedom and Equality. It would have called on the university to stop doing business with four corporations which the group says are involved in Israeli human rights violations in Palestinian territories: General Electric, Caterpillar, Heidelberg Cement and United Technologies.

It was fought on campus by Jewish student group Hillel as well as a number of fraternities and sororities.

The vote was the subject of heated debate in recent weeks, the Michigan Daily reported, with both sides making passionate cases. A March 18 decision by the Central Student Government to postpone voting on the motion indefinitely was met with anger and protests by proponents, and CSG president Michael Proppe said he would urge the assembly to reconsider its position.

Tensions came to a head Tuesday as hundreds of people from both sides rallied at the CSG meeting as committee members debated whether to put the resolution back on the table. Though the committee eventually decided to vote on the proposal, it was defeated 25 to 9.

Meanwhile students at Loyola University are mobilizing to convince the president of the student government to veto a similar divestment resolution.

The Loyola United Student Government Association voted March 18 to call on the university to remove its holdings from eight companies that provide equipment to Israel for use in the West Bank. The vote on a measure proposed by the Loyola chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine passed 26-0 with two abstentions.

The university has issued a statement saying the resolution passed by the student government is not the position of the university.

JTA contributed to this report.

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