The student senate at the University of California at Riverside voted on Wednesday night to rescind a divestment resolution passed last month, following intimidation and “scare tactics” employed by Israel advocates and on-campus Zionist groups against student senators. Members of such groups spoke at the meeting in repeated attempts to discredit the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement as well as the divestment resolution itself.
The original resolution, which was passed on 6 March, has now been deleted from the Associated Student government’s records at UC Riverside as it was rescinded. The students who supported the divestment resolution will informally address the senate next week. They say they will continue addressing their concerns regardless of the divestment resolution process, which would have to begin from scratch once again.
As we reported on Tuesday, it was recently revealed that Israel advocates and Zionist student groups had begun calling and emailing the student senators, claiming that the divestment resolution was “divisive” and that it “misrepresented” the student body. The student government then agreed to vote to rescind the divestment resolution. Last night, the move to rescind the resolution won out in a 12-2 vote, with a further 2 abstaining, according to UC Riverside’s Students for Justice in Palestine.
Student senator Ahlam Jadallah told The Electronic Intifada on Tuesday that the original divestment resolution was supported by approximately 40 student organizations on campus, and that during the vote last month, the senate “made the right decision” by passing the resolution. She had urged her fellow senators to stay committed to their original vote.
The Associated Student government’s chambers were packed to capacity with students and members of the public in what was surely a record crowd for these types of meetings. People had to be turned away before the meeting was moved to a bigger room about an hour into the proceedings.
“A stark difference from last time”
Amal Ali of UC Riverside’s Students for Justice in Palestine phoned The Electronic Intifada late last night after the results were in.
“It was definitely a stark difference from the last time,” she said. “But I’m ready to come back next week, and come back fighting. We have our game plan ready. We’re going to make sure it stays in the senate and if it is amended, that the language doesn’t change to the point that we no longer recognize our own divestment.”
As we posted yesterday, both Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and rock legend Roger Waters (who was recently interviewed on EI) immediately sent letters of support to the UC Riverside student senate, urging the senators not to back down on the vote.
Here are some of the Twitter highlights from last night.
Editor’s note: It was reported in an earlier version of this post that the divestment resolution would be back on the table and up for a new vote all over again next week, but that has been corrected. The students would have to re-introduce the divestment bill all over again, from the beginning, and will only be addressing the senate meeting informally next week.