After much debate that brought the passions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to campus, UC Riverside’s student government has reversed itself and revoked a resolution that urged the UC system to divest from companies that have contracts with Israel’s military.
The student leaders moved to drop the controversial divestment policy after approving it just a month ago because they came to see how it made Jewish students feel “marginalized,” according to Armando Saldana, the Associated Students’ executive vice president. “We wanted to make sure we have a level of neutrality on this campus,” he said.
The vote Wednesday was 10 in favor of dropping the policy and two opposed to doing so, with one abstention, Saldana said. Last month, it was nearly the opposite with 11 in favor and five opposed to ending UC investment in companies such as Raytheon and General Electric that provide technology, weapons or other products that the Israeli military uses in the Palestinian territories.
Student governments at several other UC campuses have adopted similar divestment resolutions that supporters describe as efforts to stand up for human rights for Palestinians. Those advisory measures have no power over the UC regents, who control the university’s massive portfolio and say they will not take any divestment action involving Israel.
The reversal at UC Riverside has been celebrated by some pro-Israel groups that had lobbied for the change. But students who support the Palestinians’ cause complained that the change came as a result of such pressure and said they would try to get the policy reinstated.