October 22, 2018

University of Oregon Student Government Passes BDS Resolution

University of Oregon’s student government passed a resolution on May 23 calling on the university to divest from companies that do business with Israel.

The resolution, which was authored by Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights (SUPER) and endorsed by the campus Multicultural Center and Young Democratic Socialists, among others, called for the University of Oregon to stop “funding the business of state-sanctioned violence.”

“This resolution would set a precedent to call on the rest of the UO community to divest from companies and funds that are complicit in Israeli settler colonialism and the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” the resolution states.

Debate on the bill lasted for three hours before it passed by a margin of 12 to 6 votes.

SUPER celebrated the resolution’s passage in a statement on Facebook.

“The resolution will ensure that ASUO [Associated Students of the University of Oregon] funds do not go to corporations which are complicit in and actively promoting the human rights abuses and breaches of international law inflicted on Palestinians by the Israeli state,” the organization said. “As a university, it is time that we take a stand to reject colonialist oppression in all forms – and today UO students showed that this is possible.”

Ducks for Israel condemned the resolution on Facebook.

“We are saddened by the lack of research done by the ASUO to understand that this resolution is one-sided and hurtful to many students on this campus,” the organization said.

Ducks for Israel later added that they will be working to educate people about the Israel/Palestine conflict and sent an ultimatum to the student government.

“We will hold you accountable for the many concerns we had that you said would not occur following the BDS resolution,” the organization stated. “We will not stand idly by when it comes to the safety and inclusion of our students on this campus and we hope you will not either.”

University of Oregon President Michael Shill said in a statement that while the resolution did not fully embrace the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions’ (BDS) tactics, it is still against the student government’s “mission to support the interests of all students in a diverse community.”

“The University of Oregon is committed to the principle of inclusion, and over the last three years each school, college and administrative unit on our campus has focused – through the IDEAL framework and Diversity Actions Plans — on efforts to enhance and strengthen policies and practices that make this campus welcoming and inclusive to all,” Shill said. “I believe the ASUO resolution is inconsistent with these values.”

There is a chance that the resolution could be struck down by the ASUO Constitutional Court, as student government resolutions have to be viewpoint neutral and it could be argued that this one wasn’t.

The full results of BDS resolution votes on college campuses from 2005-2018 can be seen on the Jewish Virtual Library’s website.