January 27, 2020

UC Davis BDS Resolution Overturned

Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

The Associated Students of UC Davis (ASUCD) Judicial Council struck down a 2015 Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) resolution on May 13, Campus Reform reports.

According to the Aggie, UC Davis’ student-run newspaper, the Judicial Council unanimously ruled that the resolution violated Article II, Section 2 of the ASUCD Constitution, which states the ASUCD “shall promote the welfare and interests” of all students on campus, as well as the portion of the Student Bill of Rights barring “discrimination and harassment on the basis of your race, gender, sex, ethnicity, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, status within or outside the university, or political belief in all activities sponsored or conducted by the University.”

The Judicial Council’s ruling stated that the resolution “caters to the welfare of a group of students… at the expense of the welfare of other students” and “has led to the discrimination and harassment of students whose ethnicity, national origin or political beliefs are in opposition to the content of the Resolution.”

Former ASUCD Senator Daniella Aloni, one of the students who challenged the resolution’s constitutionally, told the Aggie that the resolution “has created a toxic environment for students on campus.” She argued that “this academic boycott also prevents American students in the U.S. from attending Universities in Israel. These boycotts lead to discrimination against students from Israel, and from the United States.”

ASUCD President Justin Hurst argued in favor of the resolution’s constitutionality, telling the Aggie that the resolution “specifically targeted against the actions of the Israeli government, not the individuals of Israel.” He also said the ruling “would have a chilling effect” on free speech, per the Aggie.

The ASUCD Senate had passed the resolution by a vote of eight in favor, two against and two abstentions in January 2015; the ASUCD court struck it down a month later. The ASUSD passed the resolution again in May 2015 with 10 votes in favor, zero against and two abstentions. The resolution called on the UC Board of Regents to divest from companies that conduct business with Israel.

Several pro-Israel groups and figures on Twitter celebrated the Judicial Council’s decision:

UC Davis now joins UC Santa Barbara as the only UC campuses that currently don’t have a BDS resolution endorsed by their respective student government.