<< Front page Commentary May 14, 2004

SFP claims divestment victory

To the Editors:

In the student referendum initiated by Student Senate, the following question was posed to the OC student body: “Should Student Senate call on Oberlin College to put a block on investment in any companies that have contracts with the Israeli military?”

The results show that Oberlin students support a divestment from the firms that manufacture and sell arms to the Israeli military, with 496 students voting in favor of the measure and 494 against. Because 551 students chose to abstain, Student Senate decided that they could not endorse the question.

At their meeting about the referendum on Sunday night, Senate grappled with the difficult issue of how to interpret abstentions. There were no rules on the books which discussed the role of abstentions in bringing a verdict of “no result.”

However, SFP interprets the results of the referendum as a mandate from the student body to continue doing our work and to increase our education for divestment.

While this vote is not being officially recognized, Students for a Free Palestine view it as a huge success. This vote demonstrates that there is both support and enthusiasm for divestment on campus. Despite the unofficial status of the yes votes, we remain committed to organizing and supporting divestment at OC, in conjunction with the national student divestment movement.

As violence intensifies in Palestine and as Israel continues to build the Apartheid Wall, we urge students, faculty and administration to take a stand. Educate yourselves and educate others about what is happening in Palestine; let your friends and family know that you are against the occupation and that you oppose the human rights violations occurring at the hands of the Israeli military.

If you haven’t already, please sign our divestment petition at www.oberlin.edu/˜sfp. If you chose to abstain on the referendum and would like to find out more, check out: www.electronicitifada.net, www.endtheoccuaption.org, www.haaretz.com, or www.stopthewall.org.

The United States continues to fund the Israeli military and support the violence that is occurring against Palestinians through US arms manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Caterpillar. Oberlin College students call on Oberlin College to divest now!

–Haley Pollack, ’04
–Rebecca DeCola, ’04
–Yussef Cole, ’05
–Nava EtShalom, ’04
–Marta Berg, ’04
–Ariella Cohen, ’04
–Lina Elbadawi, ’05
–Rym Hannachi, ’04
–Zoe Chace, ’04
–Rachel Marcus, ’06
–Lee Gargagliano, ’06
–Gabriel Morden-Snipper, ’07
–Ryan Batjaika, ’07
–Nina Sarnelle, ’06
–Jon Argaman, ’05
–Dani Levine, ’06


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