Ruling: U.C. Santa Cruz divestment vote was flawed

A divest-from-Israel resolution that apparently was passed by the student government at U.C. Santa Cruz last month actually was defeated, according to Shaz Umer, who chairs the Student Union Assembly.

In the early-morning hours of May 28, the SUA voted on the resolution — twice. It initially was defeated 21-12, but the SUA then voted to suspend a bylaw requiring a two-thirds majority. Another vote on the resolution followed and passed by a simple majority, 22-14.

But there was “a technical error in parliamentary procedure,” Umer wrote in a decision released last week. “The resolution has failed for not meeting the required two-thirds majority.”

He went on to explain that when the SUA voted to override the two-thirds majority bylaw, it actually suspended a different bylaw, one requiring a two-thirds majority for a resolution to be called to question.

“Although there may have been intent to suspend section IV (a), the Student Union Assembly suspended section II (e), with the end result still requiring a two-thirds majority on the resolution,” Umer wrote.

The 22-14 vote fell two “yes” votes shy of that threshold.

“Based on this rational, the resolution fails and will not be implemented for 2013-2014,” Umer wrote.

Titled the University Socially Responsible Investment Resolution, the nonbinding measure was introduced by the Santa Cruz Committee for Justice in Palestine. It called for U.C. Santa Cruz to divest “from companies that profit from Israeli settlements,” Umer wrote.

After its apparent passage, the resolution was put on hold pending a review of the SUA constitution and bylaws, “Robert’s Rules of Order” and university policy.