FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ON
Tuesday 20 May 2014
UW-Seattle Students bring Divestment from Israeli Occupation to a Vote
Ten UW Student groups introduce student senate Resolution to divest UW’s endowment of companies profiting from Israel’s occupation of Palestine
The student senate at the University of Washington-Seattle joins more than a dozen student bodies to formally consider recommending the university divest from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The bill did not pass despite broad student support and a nationwide trend of student senates across the country calling on their universities to divest. The final vote of 8 to 59 included 11 abstentions and a number of senators who expressed interest in learning more about the occupation of Palestine.
The bill, which focused on a number of companies directly profiting from occupation and the human rights abuses it entails, urged the University to “divest from those companies meeting such criteria within the bounds of their fiduciary duties until such companies cease the practices identified in this Resolution.” Students have already begun conversations with the UW treasury department and hope to continue to work together moving forward. According to the treasury department, as of April 22nd 2014, the UW was invested in four of the companies specifically identified in the resolution, collectively totaling nearly $6 million.
The bill was widely supported by student groups, including the Disability Advocacy Student Association, Movimiento Estudiantil Chican@ de Atzlan, and UW Black Student Union as well as by faculty, alumni, and notable figures such as Cindy and Craig Corrie – parents of Washington State student Rachel Corrie who was killed in 2003 when a militarized Caterpillar Bulldozer operated by an Israeli soldier ran her over while she attempted to protect a Palestinian home from illegal demolition. Other supporters included Miko Peled, son of a prominent Israeli general, Jewish Voice for Peace, International Committee of the National Lawyers Guild, and organizations in Israel, Palestine, and South Africa.
UW student Peter Brannan, who presented the resolution, said, “This process has been about renewing the belief that students can make a difference not only on their campus but in the world.” Members of SUPER expressed resolve and excitement about the future direction of student solidarity with Palestinian equal rights: “We are moved by the flood of student support for this resolution. We are only more determined to build community on campus for this struggle. Other campuses show that important struggles take time.”
Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights is a registered student organization at the University of Washington dedicated to equal rights and justice for the Palestinian people.