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USGA senate passes divestment resolution

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 4.06.00 PMIn a unanimous vote Tuesday night, 26 Unified Student Government Association senators passed a resolution calling for the university to withdraw investments from corporations in compliance with Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, if the university has invested in any such companies.

The final vote was 26-0-2, with 26 votes of yes, zero no and two abstentions. This makes Loyola the first Jesuit university and first university in Illinois to pass divestment through a student senate.

The resolution was written and presented to USGA by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a student organization that works to promote justice, human rights, liberation and self-determination for Palestinians, according to Loyola’s organization portal.

According to SJP Treasurer Sharifah Abdallah, 20, the resolution encourages Loyola “to follow through with its principles of ethical investments, so if [Loyola is] invested in companies that profit from human rights abuses, to withdraw.” Abdallah is a junior biology major and also serves as a USGA student senator.

SJP has been unable to determine if Loyola has invested in any of the eight companies outlined in the resolution, such as Caterpillar Inc. and Sodastream, Abdallah said.

The student organization brought the resolution to USGA after the organization collected more than 895 online and in-person signatures from Loyola’s student body in a petition supporting the resolution, according to Abdallah.

“The overwhelming support in the senate was beautiful and the support from our senators and students was empowering,” Abdallah said.

However, student senators have also started to receive emails from outside organizations in backlash of the vote, according to Abdallah.

“It’s something to be discussed,” Abdallah said. “Now we’ve opened the platform for discussion. Regardless of the outcome, what this has built is a more socially-conscious campus and student body.”

Next, the resolution will go to USGA’s judicial board and the board of trustees for voting.