Student Government at Loyola Chicago’s President signs, endorses divestment resolution
The Student Government of Loyola Chicago (SGLC) passed divestment for a third time in two years but this time the SGLC President signed and endorsed the resolution on March 31.
Last week, SGLC senators listened to students for and against the divestment measure and debated amongst themselves, 16 voted in favor, 15 voted against and two abstained.
A few hours before SGLC President Flavio Bravo announced his decision, Loyola University President, Michael J. Garanzini, sent an open letter to Loyola students that denounced the divestment resolution. Still, Bravo didn’t allow Garanzini to pressure him into a veto.
“The University has stated that it is not ready to divest today and that is fine. This resolution calls for divestment by 2025, encouraging continuous discussion and dialogue for at least the next 10 academic years,” Bravo said as he signed and endorsed the divestment resolution. “Rhetoric aside, in no way is this measure anti-Semitic. To critique a university’s private investments, an unpopular political ideology, is not the same as endorsing religious persecution.”
The Loyola Divest Coalition responded to the University President’s letter with a letter of its own. The coalition’s letter calls into question Garanzini’s decision to send an open letter for the first time in his 14 year tenure and demands he apologize to the marginalized communities he has ignored.
“The Loyola Divest Coalition is gravely disappointed by the open letter that was shared to the Loyola Community on the morning of March 31, 2015. The condescending nature of [Garanzini’s] letter has caused us to write this response as a coalition of students.As stated in your letter, this is the first time you have written an open letter to the entire Loyola University Chicago Community in 14 years of office, and the fact that you chose to write this letter on this particular issue is extremely disheartening. After the numerous tragedies that have occurred over the course of your tenure here at Loyola, your silence has been discouraging. You have chosen to remain silent on issues of racism, sexual assault, access to education, the exclusion of Queer communities on campus, and worker justice. Yet yesterday, just before President Bravo was to announce his signing of the measure, you published a letter in dissent. You chose this moment to target a campaign spearheaded by a diverse group of student organizations and voices, to speak out and undermine the voices of the Loyola Student Body….We call on [Garanzini] to reconsider the voices of those disregarded in your open letter, take action to reconcile the years of unjust treatment of marginalized students on this campus, and issue an apology to the Loyola Community,” Loyola Divest Coalition’s letter stated.
The initial vote was a tie—15 for and against the resolution—but Danish Murtaza, the speaker of SGLC, who holds the tie breaker vote in event of a tie, voted in favor of the measure.
The senate hearing and vote lasted approximately six hours. The hearing began with students for and against the resolution speaking to the senate about why they were in favor or against it. In attempt to keep the hearing “balanced and fair”, the senate had speakers for and against speak back and forth. Because there was significantly more pro-divestment speakers, anti-divestment speakers were allowed to speak multiple times. Some individuals spoke three times.
The divestment resolution was backed by 20 student organizations and the Loyola Divest Coalition collected more than 1,200 signatures.
Bravo had a week to veto or endorse the resolution. During that week, he said he met with the students who drafted the bill and spoke with “concerned administrators.”
The first time the measure passed in 2014 a revote was requested. After it passed again that same year, former SGLC President, Pedro Guerrero vetoed the measure.