Student coalition DePaul Divest declares victory in campaign calling for student support to divest from corporations that profit off of human rights abuses against Palestinians.
CHICAGO â€“ Following two months of campaigning at DePaul University, student coalition DePaul Divest have declared victory in a campaign to divest from corporations that profit off of human rights violations perpetrated against Palestinians via the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine.
While a majority of campus divestment campaigns across the country have been carried out through student government resolutions, DePaul Divest opted to pose the question of divestment to the entire DePaul student body through a Student Government Association (SGA) referendum this week. With a majority of 1575 votes in favor and 1333 against, it is clear that Palestinian human rights, the rights of minorities within Israel, and ethical investment are issues that concern the DePaul student body.
This victory did not come without outside interference by pro-Israel lobby group StandWithUs, whose paid staff, frequently presenting themselves as individuals affiliated with DePaul University, canvassed the student body in a counter campaign to DePaul Divest.
â€œScare tactics were used to deter the student body from voting to affirm the human rights of Palestinians, but our victory today is evidence that this was not enough to stop DePaul students from standing on the side of justice,â€ said campaign organizer Areej Hamdan.
In the days leading up to the student vote, members of the opposition circulated false rumors and misinformation about the DePaul Divest campaign, despite the clarity and transparency of the movementâ€™s goals. This misinformation was addressed in a May 18 DePaulia article, â€œDePaul Divest speaks out: No more intimidation, no more misinformationâ€.
While the passage of this referendum is not binding on the administration, the SGA is prohibited from passing resolutions in the upcoming school year that contradict the results of the referendum.
DePaul Divest organizers will now turn their attention to working with the DePaul administration in moving forward with implementing divestment from these corporations. Working with the Fair Business Practices Committee, DePaul Divest organizers will encourage the university administration to establish investment screens. This will require that the human rights record of each potential investment is investigated, making ethical investment a priority and requirement for the universityâ€™s money managers.
â€œIt is clear that DePaul students do not wish to have their tuition dollars invested in weapons manufacturers,â€ said student organizer Roya Naderi. This has generated discussion on ethical investment on campus, with students in agreement that DePaul University should not be invested in war profiteers.
While campaigning at the university is now over, divestment does not end here. This is a moment in which the student body has taken a stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, long denied of their basic human rights. The passage of this divestment referendum is a step towards removing the universityâ€™s complicity in the occupation of Palestine, and is a step towards establishing a standard of ethical investment practices at DePaul University.
DePaul Divest is a coalition of students, student organizations, staff, faculty and alumni that call on the DePaul University administration to pull its investments from corporations that profit off of the illegal occupation of Palestine and the human rights abuses these companies help perpetuate. For more information, visit dpudivests.org.