Pitzer Student Senate Drafts Resolution Calling for School President to Resign for U of Haifa Veto

March 28, 2019
Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The Pitzer College Student Senate is drafting a resolution calling for Pitzer President Melvin Oliver to resign for vetoing the Pitzer College Council’s vote to suspend the college’s study abroad program at the University of Haifa.

On March 14, the council voted to suspend the program by a margin of 67 to 28, with eight abstentions, until Israel ended its ban on supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement from entering the country. Oliver announced in a statement shortly thereafter that he would be vetoing the vote, stating, “I categorically oppose any form of academic boycott of any country. We cannot allow our objections to the policies of any nation’s government to become a blanket indictment of the nation itself and, by extension, its citizens.”

As first reported by the Claremont Independent on March 28, the student senate resolution states that it is showing “no confidence in the President of the College—to ensure that Pitzer College consistently adheres to the democratic spirit inherent in the college’s shared governance process without making exceptions for votes related to Israel & Palestine.” The resolution noted that the Pitzer Board of Trustees overturned an amendment in the 2017 budget passed by the Student Senate stating that student fees couldn’t be funneled toward Israel products.

“This pattern of unilateral action impugns the capabilities, faculties, and reasoning power of Student Senate and by extension the student body, and furthermore represents the second intervention in autonomous, democratic, student-led decision-making on issues related to the College’s complicity in the oppression of the Palestinian people,” the resolution states.

The resolution concludes, “The Pitzer College Student Senate votes no confidence in President Melvin Oliver and, if President Oliver does not retract his anti-democratic decision by the end of the day on April 11, 2019, call for his immediate resignation or removal from office.”

The resolution will be introduced on March 31, according to its text.

The college did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

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