With support from JUF’s Israel Education Center and Metro Chicago Hillel, students at Loyola University in Chicago are mobilizing to undo an unprecedented Israel divestment vote by student government. Earlier this week, Loyola’s United Student Government Association passed a measure — proposed by the Loyola chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine — calling on the university to divest from eight companies that provide equipment to Israel.
“This resolution….essentially hijacked our campus student voice,” wrote Talia Sobel, student intern, and Emily Briskman, director, of JUF’s Israel Education Center in a letter to concerned parents and others. “On a procedural pretext, anti-Israel advocates were able to introduce the resolution without opposition. Pro-Israel students were neither afforded the opportunity to debate the resolution, nor even informed of the vote,”
With the help of the center, students immediately raised both the procedural issue of the vote and the substance of the resolution with the USGA president and with the university administration. Students have circulated a statement and petition asking the USGA president to exercise his right to veto the resolution; meanwhile, he has invited pro-Israel students to present their position at the next meeting of the body.
For its part, university administration emphatically stated that “Loyola University Chicago has NOT adopted a resolution calling for the University to withdraw or refrain from investing in certain companies providing products and services in Israel… This is not the position of Loyola University Chicago and we will not adopt this proposal.”
“Attempting to ramrod resolutions like this through student government is a tactic of the larger Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement whose objective is to delegitimize, demonize and ultimately eliminate the Jewish State,” said John Lowenstein, JUF vice president, Campus Affairs and executive director, The Hillels of Illinois. “They do this for publicity, and know full well the university is not going to implement such decisions.”