Graduate students vote to divest at University of New Mexico

Israeli forces use Caterpillar bulldozers to demolish Palestinian homes and structures.

Mahfouz Abu Turk APA images

Graduate students at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque passed a resolution over the weekend which calls for the divestment from companies profiting from human rights violations in occupied Palestine and at the US-Mexico border.

The resolution specifically calls out US corporations such as Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard, the British-Danish corporation G4S, French multinational Veolia and Israeli companies Elbit Systems (an arms manufacturer that recently won a $145 million contract with the US govermment to further militarize the US-Mexico border wall) and SodaStream (which operates inside the occupied West Bank). The resolution names these companies as aiding and abetting Israel’s policies of Palestinian home demolitions, land theft, restrictions of freedom of movement, mass incarceration, control of populations, checkpoints, surveillance systems and services to illegal settlements.

The Graduate and Professional Student Association added that those six companies “have been directly engaged by various public campaigns and concerned investors about their complicit involvement in the previously mentioned human rights violations to no avail” and resolved to call upon the University of New Mexico “to refrain from making further investments, and to advocate that the UNM system not make further investments, in any companies engaged in the violation of human rights or other behavior deemed unethical by the UNM community.”

The full text of the resolution can be read here.

Three weeks ago, the University of New Mexico undergraduate student government held a similar divestment resolution, which did not pass.

Students for Justice in Palestine at University of New Mexico emailed the following statement to The Electronic Intifada on Sunday evening:

On April 26, a divestment resolution calling for transparency of investments, a social responsible investment committee, and divestment from corporations that profit off of the human rights violations in Occupied Palestine and here on the US/Mexico border was passed through the Graduate & Professional Student Association by a count of 10-9-1. This divestment resolution was co-sponsored by nine different organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine, Students Organizing Actions for Peace, Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Aztlan (MEChA), UNM Dream Team, Men of Color Alliance, Muslim Student Association, Fair Trade Initiative, Black Student Union, and UNM Arabic Language Club.

Graduate students from our coalition decided to bring this divestment resolution that was voted down during by the undergraduate senate body (ASUNM) on April 2 to the Graduate & Professional Student Association. During the GPSA meeting, the room was full of supporters of the divestment resolution. One senator mentioned it was the highest attended meetings he has ever witnessed. Nine speakers spoke for the resolution during the media & gallery part of the meeting, including graduate and undergraduate students representing the different sponsoring student organizations, and one alumnus community member from the Albuquerque chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace. There were no opposition that attended the meeting, though the meeting was public and the agenda had been posted a week prior.

This victory comes after a long battle against our administration trying to silence our voices and intimidate us. Though we face intimidation, we hope to continue to spread the word and educate our campus on not what’s only happening with the Occupation of Palestine, but what’s happening in our own backyard with the US/Mexico border. This divestment resolution has created a strong coalition of students who all stand in solidarity with one another. We see this divestment resolution as not just part of the Palestine solidarity movement, but any movement struggling against injustice.


The University of New Mexico graduate student government’s vote in favor of divestment comes amidst a wave of similar resolution hearings, which student activists have dubbed a “divestapalooza.” Last week, the student senate at the University of California at Riverside passed a divestment resolution calling on the university to pull its investments from US companies profiting from Israel’s occupation.

Here are some selected tweets congratulating University of New Mexico graduate student body for passing divestment over the weekend:




Kerry may back down but, we, the American people will not. Viva Palestine !

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).