UC Irvine officials Wednesday afternoon rebuffed a request form the student government asking the school to divest itself from companies that allegedly support Israel's occupation of Palestine.
The Associated Students of UC Irvine voted 16-0 Tuesday night for a resolution urging the university to withdraw its investments from Caterpillar, General Electric, Hewlett Packard, Raytheon "and other companies profiting from human rights violations in the occupied territories," according to a statement issued Wednesday. However, the university officials responded with a statement, indicating the school would not be changing its policies to suit the students.
“Such divestment is not the policy of the campus, nor is it the policy of the University of California. The UC Board of Regents' policy requires this action only when the U.S. government deems it necessary. No such declaration has been made regarding Israel.”
The student government’s resolution claims the targeted companies have sustained Israel's occupation of Palestine by providing materials used to build Israeli settlements on the West Bank and military checkpoints. GE, it said, manufactures engines for American-made Apache helicopters, which the resolution said have been used in attacks that represent "war crimes" because they involved civilians.
The move comes amid longstanding tensions between Muslim and Jewish students at UCI.
The resolution was drafted in response to a 2005 Palestinian call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel to force it to comply with international law regarding the Palestinian territories it seized from Jordan in the Six-Day War of June 1967.
"The decision ... clearly shows the strength and integrity of students utilizing their collective power to protect human rights on a global scale and I stand firmly by the students who believe it is their responsibility to have a voice on matters that urge the UC to be an institution that treasures human dignity," said Associated Student President Traci Ishigo.
Sabreen Shalabi, the student representative on the legislative council for the school of social science and co-author of the resolution, compared advocating for Palestinians to the demands of another era "that our universities divest from the terrible crimes of South African apartheid."
-- City News Service and Patch staff reports
What do you think about the pro-Palestinian stance of UCI's student government? Tell us in the comments.