University of California at Irvine campus administrators have rejected a resolution by the undergraduate student council calling for divestment from companies that “profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestine.”
At the same time, Jewish community leaders in Orange County, which includes Irvine, denounced “the nonbinding resolution, drafted and introduced with no forewarning by a small group of students with a personal agenda and deliberated in the absence of students with opposing views.”
The Nov. 13 student council resolution, titled “Divestment from Companies that Profit from Apartheid” and passed unanimously, asked the UCI administration, and the UC system as a whole, to divest from such companies as Caterpillar, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard and Raytheon.
In a news release, the student council described the resolution, introduced by council members Sabreen Shalabi and Shadi Jafari, as “a historic move that could initiate a domino effect across American campuses.”
Two days later, the UCI administration released a statement on the resolution saying “such divestment is not the policy of this campus, nor is it the policy of the University of California. The UC Board of Regents‘ policy requires this action only when the U.S. government deems it necessary. No such declaration has been made regarding Israel.”
Shalom C. Elcott, president and CEO of the Jewish Federation & Family Service of Orange County, lauded the strong ties between UCI and Israeli universities and promised that this work “will not be undermined by divisive efforts … that are contrary to the interests of students.”
In past years, the UCI campus has been the scene of numerous incidents between Muslim and Jewish students, with some Jewish groups criticizing the administration for its failure to take remedial action.
However, earlier this year, UCI Chancellor Michael Drake led a faculty delegation to Israel, which signed cooperation agreements with Ben-Gurion University, Hebrew University, the Technion and Tel Aviv University,