Omar Din '19, center, a representative on Student Assembly and member of the Convocation Committee, speaks in favor of the divestment resolution at a meeting on Thursday.

Student Assembly Votes Against Resolution on Divestment Movement

Student Assembly members voted Thursday to reject Resolution 36, which would “urge” Cornell to divest from companies “profiting from the occupation of Palestine and human rights violations.” The vote included 13 no, 14 yes and one abstention from S.A. members, as well as two votes by the community members that were against the resolution.

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GUEST ROOM | ‘Singling Out’ President Pollack’s Divestment Confusion

In President Pollack’s much-publicized statement rejecting Students for Justice in Palestine’s proposed divestment measures against Israeli occupation, Cornell’s leader claimed that such action would “unfairly single out one country in the world for sanction, when there are many countries around the world whose governments’ policies may be viewed as controversial.” In case she has forgotten, we would like to remind her of the other countries whose human rights violations have been brought to her attention by anti-imperialist members of the campus community. In May 2017, Pollack’s administration declined to take action to utilize Cornell’s purchasing power to help curb militia violence in the Congo in accordance with the demands of the global “conflict-free” movement. A resolution that earned the near-unanimous support from the Student Assembly was unilaterally dismissed, even though the relatively uncontroversial conflict-free campaign provided Cornell with a feasible action plan to directly address the country’s human rights violations. University leadership simply couldn’t be bothered to care about this powerful student-led effort, let alone act on it. The following month, an SA resolution authored by human rights organizers and Native American student leaders asked the University to divest from dirty pipeline projects that violate Indigenous sovereignty and put the future of all peoples at stake.

Community members held up signs in support of divestment at the Student Assembly meeting on March 28th, 2019.

A Divided House Debates BDS at Student Assembly Meeting

The Student Assembly convened Thursday for a public forum on a resolution for the boycott, divest and sanction movement on campus. Community members voiced often emotional opinions on the pro-divestment Resolution 36 and delivered pointed appeals toward S.A. members in a packed room. Several supporters of the resolution wielded large signs with slogans such as “Cornell has blood on its hands” and “Our tuition is funding oppression.”

The resolution, which calls upon Cornell to “divest from companies participating in the human rights violations in the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” was introduced by co-sponsors Max Greenberg ’22 and Mahfuza Shovik ’19 — S.A. representative for the College of Engineering —  as well as leaders from Students for Justice in Palestine Adam Khatib ’20 and Omar Din ’19, who is also S.A. representative for the College of Human Ecology. BDS has commanded the spotlight in the Student Assembly this semester, emerging as a major focus of S.A. presidential debates and assembly meetings, The Sun previously reported. At last week’s S.A. meeting, controversy erupted over allegations that supporters of the resolution had tried to force an early private vote, culminating in what observers called “Islamaphobic” comments.