On Thursday evening, the ASUCD Senate voted to pass Senate Resolution #9 by an 8-2-2 vote. The text calls for the UC Board of Regents to divest from “corporations that aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine and illegal settlements in Palestinian territories, violating both international humanitarian law and international human rights.”
Back in May 2014, ASUCD voted down a similar resolution. ASUCD formally recommends the UC Regents to divest from American companies Caterpillar Inc., G4S PLC, Veolia Environment and Raytheon.
“Over 550 UC Davis students, staff and faculty members attended the senate meeting, which was called to order at 8:57 p.m. in the Sciences Lecture Hall 123,” according to an Cal Aggie report. “At approximately 9:10 p.m., after introduction speeches from both supporting and opposing sides of the bill, Aggies for Israel President Julia Reifkind called upon the anti-divestment crowd to participate in a walk-out of the meeting, causing most of those opposed to the bill — about a third of the attendees — to leave.”
UC Davis joins UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC San Diego and UC Riverside as UC schools to pass Israeli Divestment resolutions through their student governments.
Yesterday morning Chancellor Linda Katehi issued a statement. She wrote, “Last evening the ASUCD Senate passed a resolution urging the UC Board of Regents to divest from four corporations that, according to the resolution, ‘aid in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.’”
She stressed, “This, however, does not reflect the position of UC Davis or the University of California system. The investment policy for the University of California system, including UC Davis, is set by the UC Board of Regents. The Board and Office of the President issued a statement regarding student resolutions that urge the Board to divest from companies doing business with Israel. The statement reiterates the Board’s position that this type of call to action will not be entertained.”
Chancellor Katehi continues, “We recognize that this is a sensitive topic for many on our campus, one that is very personal and emotional. It is for this reason that we must exercise sensitivity, restraint and respect in relation to the issue. Prior to the debate last night, those in attendance were reminded of our Principles of Community. We affirmed the right to freedom of expression, but also affirmed our commitment to the highest standards of civility and decency toward all.”
She writes, “A renowned international university, UC Davis manages academic and research programs across the globe and is home to a community of faculty, researchers and students from everywhere in the world. We believe that our shared goals of teaching, learning and serving the needs of society, in a climate of justice marked by respect for each other, will help us build a strong community of learning and fulfill our mission of educating the leaders of tomorrow and producing and disseminating knowledge.”
In May of 2010 the UC Board of Regents, including then-Chair Russell Gould and Vice Chair Sherry Lansing along with President Mark Yudof, issued the following statement:
“Recently, there have been two bills put forward for a vote before student organizations within the University of California that call on the University to divest from companies doing business with Israel. Understandably, these bills have received considerable attention from the public and the media.
“The overarching question of the University of California divesting from any company is a complex one and any action considered must conform to State and federal laws, as well as to the University’s fiduciary responsibilities as a public entity to protect the security of its pension and endowment funds. In 2005, the Regents stated that a policy of divestment from a foreign government shall be adopted by the University only when the United States government declares that a foreign regime is committing acts of genocide. It was also noted at the time that divestment is a serious decision that should be rarely pursued.
“We share The Regents’ belief that divestment needs to be undertaken with caution. We firmly believe that if there is to be any discussion of divestment from a business or country, it must be robust and fair-minded. We must take great care that no one organization or country is held to a different standard than any other. In the current resolutions voted on by the UC student organizations, the State of Israel and companies doing business with Israel have been the sole focus. This isolation of Israel among all countries of the world greatly disturbs us and is of grave concern to members of the Jewish community.
“We fully support the Board of Regents in its policy to divest from a foreign government or companies doing business with a foreign government only when the United States government declares that a foreign regime is committing acts of genocide. The U.S. has not made any declaration regarding the State of Israel and, therefore, we will not bring a recommendation before the Board to divest from companies doing business with the State of Israel.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting