Loyola Divest relaunches divestment campaign
The following statement was drafted by members of Loyola Divest coalition.
In the coming weeks, Loyola University Chicago’s undergraduate student senate will vote on a resolution that urges the university to remove its investments from corporations involved in human rights violations. Specifically, these corporations profit from and directly contribute to human rights abuses perpetrated against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The process of removing investments from the Israeli occupation of Palestine is known as divestment, and is a part of a larger movement responding to the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) until Israel complies with international law. The Palestinian call for BDS is modeled after similar, and successful, tactics used in the South African anti-apartheid movement. More than 170 non-governmental organizations that make up the fabric of Palestinian civil society urged divestment until the Israeli government responds to three demands.
The first demand is for Israel to end the occupation of lands forcibly acquired from 1967 on. The second demand is for Palestinian citizens of Israel to be granted full and equal rights. The third and final demand is for Israel to respect the the right of Palestinian refugees—over seven million of whom have been displaced by the occupation—to return to their homelands. Israel has systematically denied Palestinians these rights, which are mandated by international law, without any accountability.
Last year, a similar divestment resolution passed twice through senate before it was vetoed by the former student body president. Although the administration swept student voices under the rug, Students for Justice in Palestine at Loyola also gathered 1,016 undergraduate student signatures last year in support of the divestment resolution.
Since last year’s campaign, the university has been tiptoeing around the prospect of students of conscience once again asserting their stake in this institution. However, as students from many backgrounds and campus organizations, we have decided that we cannot sit idly by while Loyola violates its commitment to social justice.
This summer, over 2,100 Palestinians in Gaza, including 448 innocent children, were murdered by the Israeli military. Not only is it reprehensible to force Palestinian students at Loyola to be complicit in the displacement, dehumanization, and massacre of their families and loved ones, it is a disgrace to every member of the Loyola community to refuse to take a stand on this issue.
Investing in this occupation is irrefutably incompatible with our university’s Jesuit values. While the Israeli occupation of Palestine may be a difficult topic for many students to navigate, especially in its complex portrayal, there is simply never an excuse for human rights violations to be committed against anyone, anywhere.
Leading up to our presentation of the resolution to our student government, we will be hosting a plethora of informational events, as well as tabling daily in the Damen Student Center. If you want to learn more and stand in solidarity with this movement, contact firstname.lastname@example.org and come to our events!