Student government cancels vote on Israel boycott, citing security concerns
Menu JTA Search

Student government cancels vote on Israel boycott, citing security concerns

Two Caterpillar bulldozers used for the construction work at the Jewish settlement of Elazar, outside Jerusalem, September 2010. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

(JTA) — Leaders of the student government at George Washington University canceled a vote on a resolution calling for the school to divest from companies that do business with Israel, citing security concerns.

The vote in the Student Association Senate on the pro-Palestinian resolution was canceled about 10 minutes before the meeting’s scheduled start on Monday evening, the student newspaper The Hatchet reported.

Student Senate President Peak Sen Chua said the meeting was canceled after university officials denied repeated requests for the University Police Department officers to be stationed in the meeting room in Funger Hall. Students on both sides of the resolution had expressed concern about security arrangements for the meeting, according to the Hatchet.

Pro-Palestinian student groups found posters deemed threatening to the resolution’s supporters around campus on Sunday night, the newspaper reported.

Sudent senate leaders wrote in a statement: “There are significant security concerns for both students and senators that are going unaddressed by the University.”

The resolution supporting BDS, or the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel, was supported by pro-Palestinian and Muslim groups on campus, Jewish Voice for Peace GWU,   Young Democratic Socialists of America GW, and groups representing Native Americans and LGBTQ students.

The resolution calls on the university to divest its investment from various companies , including  Boeing , Lockheed Martin, and Caterpillar which the groups allege contribute to human rights abuses of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

It is not known if George Washington University has holdings in any of the companies in its $1.7 billion endowment. University officials have so far declined to provide information about its investment portfolio, according to the student newspaper.

A similar version of the proposal failed by one vote in the student Senate last spring.

 

Following the announcement of the cancellation of the meeting, the school’s Students for Justice in Palestine chapter protested outside the student senate office.