STANFORD, Calif. – The Undergraduate Senate of Stanford University just voted on a resolution to divest from the occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The resolution, entitled A Resolution to Divest from Companies Violating Human Rights in Occupied Palestine, called on the University to divest from multinational corporations facilitating human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian territories. The vote followed a four-hour long Senate hearing and ended with 9 senators voting yes, 5 voting no, and one abstention.
“Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine commends university senators who voted in favor of the divestment resolution and aptly represented their constituents,” said EKela Autry. “As members of Stanford community, we are proud to be in solidarity with the Palestinian people. We resolve to continue our commitment to justice as a vehicle for peace. No rest ‘till we divest!”
“It was a victory that a majority of the Senate supported the text of the resolution,” said Manny Thompson. “This is indicative that the conversation around the occupation of Palestine is shifting, something we’ve witnessed in our monthss of campus work.”
The resolution focused on multinational corporations and identifies multiple actors as being complicit in the violations against Palestinians living under occupation, including the governments of Israel, Egypt, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority. The resolution stated that the Undergraduate Senate is not connected to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The resolution affirmed both Israelis and Palestinians’ rights to life, safety, and self-determination.
“The senators’ internal discussion of the resolution preceding the vote was incredibly calm and reasoned,” said Sid Patel. “We applaud our senators for having such a nuanced conversation, recognizing that this issue is not black and white, and we appreciate that they took into account the perspectives of the entire community.”
On Tuesday evening, over 400 hundred Stanford students and affiliates gathered in the Tresidder Oak Room to witness the Undergraduate Senate vote on the divestment resolution brought forth by the Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine (SOOP) coalition. The diverse coalition consists of 19 student groups including the Black Student Union, MEChA, and Stanford Students for Queer Liberation. The resolution called on the University to evaluate its investments and divest from companies fitting the following criteria:
- Maintaining the illegal infrastructure of the Israeli occupation, in particular settlements and separation wall.
- Facilitating Israel and Egypt’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians.
- Facilitating state repression against Palestinians by Israeli, Egyptian or Palestinian Authority security forces.
Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine came together in pursuit of selective divestment as an effective response to the call from Palestinian society for university students to exert pressure for an end to the violations of their basic human rights. Over the course of six weeks SOOP’s campaign gathered immense student support; over 1600 students signed SOOP’s petition and about 400 supporters gathered at Tuesday’s hearing.
Student organizers point to the growing number of student associations that have chosen to take a step towards ending their institutions’ complicity in the violation of Palestinian human rights. On Sunday, the University of California Student Association System voted in favor of two divestment resolutions calling for an end to the system’s investments in Palestinian suffering.
“The campus movement for Stanford to divest from companies complicit in the suffering of the Palestinian people will continue,” said Autry. “As long as Palestine is occupied, our work must continue.”