U.C. Davis senate passes new divestment resolution

After approving an Israel divestment measure in January, only to have it overturned by a student court two weeks later, the undergraduate student senate at U.C. Davis has passed a new divestment measure.

The resolution passed 10-0, with two abstentions, on May 28, less than two weeks before final exams were to begin.

In a February ruling, U.C. Davis’ student court said the original resolution, which passed 8-2 with two abstentions, was unconstitutional because it had nothing to do with student welfare. Divestment proponents added language to the resolution claiming Israeli “occupation” and “discrimination” harm the welfare of the campus’ Palestinian students, according to a report on the anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada.

Unlike past meetings at which divestment was debated before overflow crowds, the May 28 senate meeting was barely promoted and sparsely attended, according to Julia Reifkind, president of the student group Aggies for Israel. Members of Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace spoke in favor of the resolution, while Reifkind spoke in opposition.

The resolution urges U.C. Davis to divest its holdings in some companies that do business with Israel, citing by name Caterpillar, G4S, Veolia and Raytheon. University administrators have said in the past they will not divest. Although most student senates in the U.C. system have passed similar bills, no campus has divested.

Reifkind said she and her fellow pro-Israel activists knew going in that the resolution would pass and that its passage may impact morale at U.C. Davis, on summer break until the fall quarter begins Sept. 24. However, her organization “will continue to do what we’ve always done: Celebrate Israel and remain positive.” — dan pine

Dan Pine

Dan Pine is J.'s news editor. He can be reached at dan@jweekly.com.