Opinion

Still time to repeal divestment measure, restore justice

The PHOENIX/Jack Ciolli and Sydney South

As you may know, the USGA passed a resolution Tuesday evening calling on the university to divest from eight companies doing business with Israel. Divestment resolutions such as this are a well-known, national tactic of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement, which seeks to delegitimize Israel and rejects dialogue, negotiations and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.

This resolution, promulgated by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), essentially manipulated our campus student voice. On a procedural pretext, anti-Israel advocates were able to introduce the resolution without opposition. Pro-Israel students were neither afforded the opportunity to debate the resolution, or be informed of the vote. The resolution passed 26 to 0, with two abstentions.

Graphic by Jack Ciolli and Sydney South
Graphic by Jack Ciolli and Sydney South

Thankfully, the story does not end here. There is still an opportunity to overturn this vote.

Hillel at Loyola, with the support of the Jewish United Fund (JUF)’s Israel Education Center, immediately mobilized upon hearing of the divestment vote. Because of our strong relationship with the university administration, we were able to gain instant access and express our concerns. The USGA President Pedro Guerrero and a member of the administration met with representatives of the pro-Israel community and JUF’s Israel Education Center Director on Wednesday afternoon.

Guerrero responded with an invitation to pro-Israel students to present our position at the next meeting on Tuesday, March 25. He will then make an informed decision about whether to uphold or veto the resolution.

Our community has drafted a statement asking Guerrero to veto the bill. We will be asking our friends in the Loyola community to sign a statement in support, which we will present to the USGA. Students, with the support of Hillel and JUF’s Israel Education Center, are preparing to present their verbal arguments at Tuesday’s meeting.

In addition, we are pleased to report that Loyola has emphatically stated that it will not adopt this proposal. If you wish to show your support for the university’s swift and decisive statement (see below) please contact the Office of the President.

Talia Sobol is the Hillel intern at Loyola and a contributing columnist. You can contact her at tsobol@luc.edu

Loyola’s statement:

The resolution calling for the University to withdraw or refrain from investing in certain companies providing products and services in Israel is a proposal being discussed by student government. It is not the position of Loyola University Chicago and we have not adopted this proposal. As a University, we welcome open dialogue and debate on differing points of view. Proposals like this one benefit from broader campus discussion.

Background:

A proposed resolution was submitted to Loyola University Chicago’s Unified Student Government Association (USGA) on Sunday, March 16 by USGA Senators, who happen to be members of Student for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The resolution was then discussed and voted on at the USGA’s Tuesday evening meeting, March 18.

Loyola’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter had a change of leadership last year, and is now more aligned with a national SJP movement called BDS (Boycott Divest & Sanction). This group is known for putting together strategies to make change within Universities.

The USGA passed the resolution 26 in favor, 0 opposed, 2 abstained.

The meeting was open to the public and about 25 guests supporting the resolution attended the meeting.

Next steps:

  1. The current USGA president, Pedro Guerrero, has 13 days to sign or veto the resolution/position. If he vetoes it, the Senate can employ the override clause with a two-thirds majority vote.

  1. Once the veto process is concluded, the judicial board must approve the judicial resolution for constitutionality.

  1. The approval of the resolution is the official position of the student body.

  1. If approved, it will be presented to the administration.

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