On November 14, after months of controversy and a decade of organizing, the Central Student Government (CSG) of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor voted to pass a resolution calling on the university’s Board of Regents to create a committee to investigate at least three companies operating within Israel that are involved in alleged human rights violations of Palestinians.
The University of Michigan is one of the larger US universities to have passed such a resolution. The victory is indicative of the ongoing effectiveness of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign, even against the backdrop of an extremely pro-Israel Trump administration.
The Michigan resolution was controversial enough within the CSG that the group created its own investigative committee prior to voting on the resolution, in order to ensure all voices in the debate were heard and adequately represented.
Authored by Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE), the resolution took more than a decade to pass, after a sustained effort by Palestinian students and a wide range of allies across campus and around the country.
The coalition supporting the passage of the resolution included over 40 different student organizations, 20 members of University of Michigan faculty, and large numbers of students and alumni.
The aim of the resolution: to have the Board of Regents look deeply into funds invested by the University in three companies seen as violating the human rights of Palestinians, with the hope that, if these violations are proven, the University will divest from the companies.
The action is in alignment with the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement, which according to its website, “is a Palestinian-led movement for freedom, justice and equality. BDS upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.”
BDS has spread widely across US college campuses, where students, faculty…