Members of the Tufts Community Union (TCU) Senate passed a resolution calling for Tufts to divest from four companies that it says are involved in the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The resolution, which drew an audience of more than 100 students, passed with 17 in favor, six opposed and eight abstentions.
Several students in the audience held pieces of paper with a crossed-out image of a table, urging Senate to vote on the resolution rather than tabling it, while others held signs reading “I support Palestinian Human Rights,” “Stand with Israel” and “Divest from these companies profiting off of the occupation.”
TCU Parliamentarian Adam Rapfogel introduced the resolution and reviewed the resolution process for students in attendance. Then TCU Historian Rati Srinivasan read the text of the resolution. Following non-substantive changes related to the grammar and spelling of the resolution, the meeting entered the discussion phase.
Several authors spoke to provide background for the text of the resolution, which calls for Tufts not to invest in Elbit Systems, G4S, Northrop Grumman and Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and to screen its investments for human rights compliance. According to the resolution, it is unclear whether Tufts currently invests in those four companies.
The authors stressed that the goal of the resolution is to make a statement that Tufts should not profit from human rights abuses. Others argued that the resolution’s political statement is beyond the scope of TCU Senate.
The meeting then entered a question-and-answer period, during which students in the audience were allowed to direct questions to the authors of the resolution.
Some students raised concerns that attendance at the meeting could be impacted by the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover. To address this, comments were collected online from students and Rapfogel, a sophomore, read a selection.
A motion was raised to move to debate and it passed. After ten minutes, a motion to table the resolution was raised but was denied 13-4. Following another 30 minutes of debate, another motion to table was raised and the rules were suspended to debate the motion to table, after which the motion failed.
Five amendments were proposed to the resolution. The first was deemed friendly and integrated into the resolution, and the other four were deemed unfriendly and not included.
Finally, a vote was held and the resolution passed.