University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign iStock

A bill endorsing the BDS movement presented to the student government has been stopped by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

The bill was put forward by to the university senate by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and if passed would have allowed for a referendum asking whether the university should “divest its stocks, funds, and endowment from companies that profit from or engage in human rights violations in US Prisons, at the US-Mexico Border, and in Occupied Palestine,” the Jewish Journal reported.

The measure referred to Caterpillar, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Company for their business ties to the IDF.

It passed the senate on February 23 by a vote of 17-14 with two abstentions. But the university and the students government judiciary forced the bill’s termination after two technicalities with its passage were discovered. the judiciary ruled on March 9 that the bill had been unconstitutionally passed using a secret ballot, that it only had passed with a simple majority vote at a meeting where the majority of the senators were absent and that the meeting’s agenda was released only 24 hours before the meeting, when rules stipulate that the agenda must be released at minimum 48 hours before a meeting.

Prior to the judiciary’s decision, the university’s vice chancellor Danita Brown sent an email to the student government on March 3 saying that no matter what the judiciary found the bill would not be allowed to be placed on a ballot, citing procedural errors and a “narrow passage” of the measure.

In the week leading up to the vote, antisemitic incidents occurred on campus, with Illinois Student Government President Elect Garrett Forrest, who won with an anti-BDS platform, telling the Journal that he was “glad that the university was able to recognize that procedure wasn’t followed” and speaking out against proponents of the bill who accused those against it of being racists.

“That’s obviously not true,” Garrett said.