October 22, 2019

Divestment Vote Fails at UCSB

Screenshot from Facebook.

The vote on UC Santa Barbara divesting from companies that conduct business with Israel failed by a margin of 14-10 at 5 a.m. on April 11.

The Daily Nexus reports that the Associated Students Senate meeting, which began at 6:30 p.m. on April 10, lasted around 10 and a half hours due to a lengthy debate on the issue of divestment. The Nexus report states that around 90 people from the audience spoke on the matter with opinions evenly split on the matter; Max Samarov, StandWithUs’ executive director of Research and Strategy and an alumnus of UCSB, told The College Fix that around 100 people spoke and he believed that “there were more students speaking against it than for it.”

Among the student senators who spoke out against the resolution included Lea Toubian, who reportedly “left the vote crying” when the vote ended after discussing her personal experience with anti-Semitism.

“I firmly believe this resolution provides a platform for hate,” Toubian said before the vote.

The vote was conducted via secret ballot out of concern of student senators being doxxed.

With the divestment vote failing, UCSB remains the only UC campus not to have voted for divestment. It is also the sixth time in seven years that divestment has failed at UCSB.

Santa Barbara Hillel Executive Director Evan Goodman, Board of Trustees President Aaron Ettenberg and Student Board President Hannah Green wrote in a Facebook post, “We are extraordinarily proud of our students for their resolve and integrity in the months, weeks and days leading up to tonight’s vote. They gave everything they had to fight this anti-Israel resolution. Pro-Israel students fought for the moral and intellectual integrity of UCSB and they succeeded. They rallied an impressive campaign to urge senators to vote against the resolution and reached out to campus allies and our community partners. Santa Barbara Hillel has supported these students every step of the way.”

“Santa Barbara Hillel and our campus partners will not allow messages of hate to tear apart our campus community or to isolate Jewish students because of their religious or ethnic identities or because they support the State of Israel,” they continued. “The pro-Israel community of UCSB remains committed to being part of the solution. Santa Barbara Hillel will continue to create a community that supports peace and honest dialogue and that works to make our campus, our community and our Jewish homeland safer and more peaceful.”

Samarov said in a statement, “We are incredibly proud of the students at UC Santa Barbara who defeated this campaign of hatred and propaganda for the sixth time in seven years. Resolutions like this one have only served to harm students and hinder efforts to bring Israelis and Palestinians together.”

Rachel Greenberg, co-president of Students Supporting Israel, similarly said in a statement, “The resolution continues to fail each year for the simple reason that BDS fails to acknowledge the nuanced and complex nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and aims to place blame solely on one entity in a multi-faceted issue. I am incredibly proud that our elected senators listened to the voices of their constituents and said no to this hateful resolution.”

The American Jewish Committee tweeted, “Thank you, @AS_UCSB Senate, for rejecting BDS for the 6th time in 7 years. Efforts to push BDS only serve to suppress academic freedom and make Jewish and pro-Israel students feel unsafe on campus.”