Education

UC Davis student court says campus senators overreached on Israel divestment vote

Former ASUCD Sen. Jonathan Mitchell, left, brought the case challenging the student senate resolution for divestiture from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation on Tuesday. The ASUCD court voted to overturn the resolution.
Former ASUCD Sen. Jonathan Mitchell, left, brought the case challenging the student senate resolution for divestiture from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation on Tuesday. The ASUCD court voted to overturn the resolution. bnguyen@sacbee.com

UC Davis’ student court on Wednesday ruled against the student senate’s resolution calling for the University of California to divest itself of businesses with ties to Israeli military actions.

The Court of the Associated Students of UC Davis found that the ASUCD Senate resolution was political in nature and did not fall within the purview of the student government, which is to deal with issues affecting student welfare. The court responded to a student appeal of the divestment resolution.

Maxwell Kappes, vice president of the ASUCD Senate, said the student court has five days to post its decision and that decision won’t be official until it is posted. But he said the court’s decision that the divestment resolution was unconstitutional essentially rescinds the resolution and no action by the student senate is required.

UC Davis’ student government in January became the seventh at a University of California campus to call on UC regents to divest itself of businesses aiding the Israeli military in Palestinian areas. The divestment vote has drawn national and international attention from pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian activists.

A UC Office of the President spokeswoman said this month that UC system leaders hold the same position they did in 2010, when they said they would not divest from Israeli-tied businesses and expressed concerns that Israel was being unfairly targeted in the resolutions.

Adding to campus tensions, two Jewish student organizations in Davis suffered hate crimes last month. A janitor at Hillel House found the words “grout out the Jews” etched into a bathroom wall, and two swastikas were spray-painted on the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. Campus organizations condemned the acts and said they were not related to the divestment debate, and an Alpha Epsilon Pi leader downplayed the vote’s role in what happened at his fraternity house.

Comedienne Roseanne Barr jumped into the fray last week, tweeting that she hoped the Davis campus “gets nuked” because of the divestment vote. Kappes placed on Thursday night’s agenda a “Roseanne Barr Resolution,” urging Barr “not to nuke the UC Davis campus,” but Kappes said he drew up the resolution to be facetious.

Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.

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