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UC Riverside student Senate urges divestment from firms working in West Bank

March 8, 2013 |  6:38 pm

UC Riverside’s student Senate this week passed a controversial resolution urging the university system to divest from nine companies that the students contend are violating the human rights of Palestinians and aiding Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.

The move is part of a wave of similar measures under consideration, some successful and some not, at other UC campuses.

However, those advisory resolutions have no power over UC finances. The UC regents and other administrators have said they have no intention of any divestments focused on Israel.

Nevertheless, the UC Riverside matter passed the student Senate in an 11-5 vote, enough to avoid a veto by the undergraduate student body president, Liam Dow, who said he opposes the matter. In a letter to the campus, Dow said the divestment resolution “encourages biases instead of reconciliation, and creates counter-productive hostilities that divide the UCR campus.”

General Electric, Raytheon, Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard are among the firms the resolution described as aiding the Israeli repression of Palestinians. The document said it was important for UC to promote values “of human rights, equality and dignity for all people without distinction.”

The student Senate at UC San Diego debated a similar item  this week and delayed action until next week. In November, a UC Irvine student panel approved divestment and in 2010 so did a UC Berkeley student government group, only to have it vetoed by the student president there.

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--Larry Gordon

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