Ohio State University students vote down BDS resolution

Undergraduate Student Government rejects measure to boycott companies doing business in Israel.

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The Undergraduate Student Government of the Ohio State University voted down a resolution to divest from companies which “benefit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” and to boycott Israeli products.

It failed Wednesday night by a vote of 7 in favor and 33 against. It would not have been binding on the university administration.

The resolution specifically named the companies G4S, Caterpillar Inc., Sabra Dipping Company and Hewlett-Packard. Ohio State’s $3.6 billion endowment fund and $6.1 billion in revenue have investments in those companies, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The resolution also called for “an academic boycott of Israeli universities, including cancellations of currently invited speakers and visiting professors, and to ending existing programs or relationships with Israeli universities.”

In a statement issued prior to the meeting and vote on Wednesday evening, United Student Government President Shamina Merchant and Vice President Shawn Semmler wrote that they opposed the legislation, stating: “We believe the implications of this resolution would negatively impact students on our campus and their opportunities for scholarships, research and field experiences. It stands against the core principle of academic freedom and we are concerned about the exclusionary language used to address our educators on campus.

They added that “This legislation goes against the mission and values of our university, and we unequivocally discourage its passage.”

At least five such resolutions in the student government have been voted on in recent years. The most recent anti-Israel boycott resolution came up in the undergraduate student government in January, but was rendered toothless after it was revised to not include specific language about Israel, the Cleveland Jewish News reported.


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