Last night’s Associated Students Senate meeting — which was once again held in Corwin Pavilion to accommodate the hundreds of students in attendance — centered around lengthy discussion of the university’s potential divestment from companies that allegedly support apartheid and violate human rights.
During the forum, students expressed their reasoning for supporting or opposing divestment — an issue that was first introduced at last week’s meeting, resulting in nine hours of heated debate. Academic Affairs Board External Co-Chair Adeel Lakhani said the senate’s responsibility is to actively and critically analyze all perspectives when considering whether or not to pass the resolution, entitled “A Resolution to Divest From Companies that Profit From Apartheid.”
“Active pursuit of understanding is different from being served arguments or ideology,” Lakhani said. “My main point was that consideration of this resolution should be limited to consideration of this resolution … this resolution does not address how to finally address all parties’ concerns but this resolution does make clear that all parties’ concerns should be respected.”
Student Rosina Saeed, a supporter of divestment, said discrimination plays a large role in human rights violations occurring in Palestine.
“I would like to address apartheid,” Saeed said. “My definition of apartheid is racial segregation, simple as that.”
In contrast, Jewish Voice for Peace member Rand Clark said support for divestment and anti-Semitism are mutually exclusive sentiments.
“A vote in favor of divestment says nothing about one’s attitude toward Jews,” Clark said. “A little bit of discomfort is a small price to pay on the path to justice.”
Rabbi Evan Goodman said the resolution has prompted strong reactions from students who feel personally attacked by the university’s potential divestment.
“One student I spoke to today, I spent a good hour trying to talk him out of withdrawing from the university,” Goodman said.
According to Meggie Le, A.S. President at UCSD, the resolution has been particularly controversial due to the complex and challenging nature of the conflict.
“Political issues will always be divisive in their nature, but this one is unique in that it is also alienating,” Le said.
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