2 divest measures at Midwest universities

The Northwestern University student government passed a resolution calling on the university to divest from six companies that it said are being used by Israel to violate Palestinians’ human rights.

Following five hours of debate, the vote by the Associated Student Government Senate early Feb. 19 was 24 votes in favor and 22 against, with three abstentions, the Daily Northwestern student newspaper reported.

The vote was by secret ballot, so the senators could feel comfortable casting their vote, the newspaper reported.

The resolution, which was sponsored by the student group Northwestern Divest, asks the university to divest from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Hewlett-Packard, G4S, Caterpillar and Elbit Systems. It is not known if the university is invested in any of the companies named since it does not make its investments public.

Meanwhile, the University of Toledo student government tabled a similar Israel divestment resolution, saying it violated the group’s constitution.

In a closed-door meeting Feb. 17, the Student Judicial Council ruled the resolution unconstitutional by a vote of 5-4 after hearing debate.

The resolution had called on the university to divest from any companies that “provide direct support for and directly profit from Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.”

The companies named in the eight-page resolution, prepared by the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine, were Cemex, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, Proctor & Gamble and Rolls-Royce.

The council voted to have a closed-door debate on the proposal out of concern for student safety, according to the campus newspaper, The Independent Collegian. — jta


JTA news agency