Divestment passes at University of California at Riverside

Last night, the student senate at the University of California at Riverside voted to support a resolution sponsored by Students for Justice in Palestine calling on the university to pull its investments from US companies profiting from Israel’s occupation.

Just before midnight Wednesday, student senators voted to uphold the resolution by a narrow margin — eight in favor, seven against — during an evening in which three separate California universities held divestment resolution hearings, dubbed a “divestapalooza” by student activists and boycott advocates on social media. UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State University held simultaneous resolution hearings but only UC Riverside passed divestment.

With limited resources, and organizing under pressure by university administrations and sustained intimidation efforts by Israel lobby groups on and off campus, student activists across the US are continuing to build divestment campaigns and push for justice, equality and human rights for Palestinians.

“Come back fighting”

This was the second time that a divestment resolution passed at UC Riverside.

In March 2013, the student senate voted in favor of divestment. Immediately after the vote, Zionist groups and Israel advocates had begun calling and emailing the student senators, claiming that the divestment resolution was “divisive” and that it “misrepresented” the student body. In April 2013, the student senate voted to rescind the divestment resolution. Activists with Students for Justice in Palestine at Riverside and the wider SJP-West coalition vowed to “come back fighting.”

And this time, despite intense intimidation by anti-Palestinian individuals and groups reported by student activists to The Electronic Intifada, and despite the insistence by Zionist individuals testifying against the resolution during the hearing that it should be defeated, the senators voted in favor of a “resolution of neutrality and disassociation from US corporations profiting from occupation.” A one-minute video of the moment divestment was passed was posted to Facebook.

In the video, students can be seen in the audience holding signs that read “Divest now” and “Don’t make me fund the oppression of my family” while cheering and celebrating loudly after the announcement of the vote’s results.

Here are some selected tweets from supporters all over the world after last night’s divestment votes at UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State University.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the UC Riverside vote included one abstention during the eight to seven vote. It has now been corrected.



Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).