UC San Diego student government calls on UC Regents to divest

The Associated Students Council at UC San Diego passed a resolution Wednesday calling on the University of California to divest from companies doing business with the Israeli government.

The final resolution passed in a secret ballot by a vote of 20 in favor, 12 against and one abstention after more than five hours of debate and amendments.  The resolution does not divest funds but instead calls for divestment by the UC Board of Regents, which set investment policy for the system.

In a statement responding to the vote, UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla reminded the campus community of the regents’ policy to divest only when the U.S. government acknowledges a state has committed an act of genocide but commended the campus on its civil debate of the divestment issue.

“I am confident that our students will continue to engage in open, balanced and civil dialogue when discussing highly complex world issues that evoke strong feelings and emotions,” Khosla said in the statement.

Wednesday’s resolution is the first to come out of the ASUCSD after more than four years of discussion. In previous years, similar resolutions have failed to pass the council or have been kept from a vote entirely.

“This year, we’ve been planning for it all year,” said ASUCSD president Meggie Le. “We spent about five hours striking any clause that could be political.”

Some senators, however, were upset by the content of the meeting. ASUCSD Senators Brad Segal and Shazzy Gustafson resigned in protest following the meeting.

“While I am inspired by students who proudly stand up for their convictions, in passing this resolution our student government unequivocally demonstrated that it does not speak for me, the Jewish community, nor the UC San Diego student body as a whole,” said Segal in his letter of resignation.

At one point during Wednesday’s meeting, the original resolution was split into two parts, one calling for divestment of UC funds and the other recognizing the effects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on student life.

“I think those two resolutions would have been a great compromise,” Le said. “(The second) validates the narrative of both Israeli and Palestinian students on campus. But right now, we have a lot of upset students.”

The split resolutions, however, were tabled until the following week, and the final vote passed the original resolution in its entirety.

The ASUCSD’s vote follows earlier resolutions by other student governments nationwide in favor of divestment. Last week, students at UC Riverside passed a similar resolution, and in 2012, the Associated Students of UC Irvine also voted to support divestment.

A divestment bill was also passed at UC Berkeley in 2010 but was then vetoed. A subsequent vote to overrule the veto failed to pass.

Jacob Brown is the lead higher education reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @jacobebrown.