Campaign Materials by Campus
Below we document a series of representative campus debates over BDS delegitimization, boycott, or divestment initiatives. For each campus, we have posted the relevant resolutions themselves, along with statements for and against. We have given emphasis to more detailed and substantive documents and news stories, generally avoiding brief statements for and against. That said, we have surely missed documents of interest. Indeed the websites where these battles are fought often disappear when votes pass, but readers may have and be able to supply documents we haven’t yet seen. We reserve the right, of course, to decide that some resources are repetitive or unsubstantial, but please do send us documents you think are interesting.
Our initial offering covered ten campaigns, and we are not aiming to produce a comprehensive set of dossiers, but we invite those familiar with local history to compile resources for other campuses and send them to us. Those involved in new campaigns will find it very useful to have a group of documents gathered together in one place. You can access the history of debates on your own campus and learn from the arguments mounted elsewhere.
On October 24, 2014, a resolution calling for an academic boycott of Israel failed to muster enough votes at the CUNY Doctoral Student Council. Two years later, on April 17, 2016, a resolution calling for an academic boycott passed 42-19-9, with abstentions recorded last. The Council represents about 5,000 graduate students.
A few days after the student society’s general assembly at McGill University voted to support divestment, the student body as a whole voted it down.
On April 22, 2016, the United Auto Workers Local representing graduate employees passed an anti-Israel resolution by a 2/3rds majority. It urged the UAW to divest from Israeli companies and demanded that NYU close its program at Tel Aviv University. An appeal to the parent union, UAW International, produced a firm decision on June 21. It voided the NYU vote and ruled that no local had the right to approve a BDS resolution.
On February 8, 2015, the Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, narrowly passed a divestment resolution by a vote of 24-22.
On February 17, 2015, a student government divestment resolution failed by a vote of 9-5-1. Two senators called for a re-vote, changed their positions, and a modified resolution passed on February 17 by a vote of 10-4-1.
Berkeley has had a long history of student divestment initiatives, dating back to 2002. The Bay Area is also unique in having an exceptionally large number of off-campus organizations mounting anti-Israel initiative and events. On April 18, 2013, a divestment resolution by approved by the student government.
In June 2013 a divestment resolution failed before the student government in a 17-19-3 vote. The following year on May 1, 2014, a divestment resolution passed but was rejected because of a technical violation. On May 28 the resolution succeeded. Then, on November 17, 2015, the student senate reinstated the original resolution in a 28-5-7 vote.
There was a divestment resolution defeated at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champain in 2017.
In November 2017, the student government of the University of Maryland defeated a divestment resolution by a wide margin.
The University of Michiganmhas been embroiled in repeated divestment debates, beginning in 2005. The most recent efforts were in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017. The student government defeated BDS resolutions each time, with a 9-25 vote in 2014 and by a 15-29-1 vote the following year.
In November 2017 for the first time a divestment resolution passed the student government, with 23 voting in favor, 17 against, and 5 abstaining.
In July 2016 students at the University of Leipzig in Germany passed an anti-BDS resolution accompanied by a detailed position paper and rationale.
On March 6, 2016, the Vassar Student Association a BDS resolution by a vote of 15-7. An amendment prohibiting the VSA from purchasing Israeli products with student funds failed to get the required 2/3rds vote. Both documents then went to the entire student body for a vote and both failed. The votes were 503-573 and 475-601 respectively.