Members of Congress demonize OSU Divest resolution
An earlier edition of this article incorrectly stated, the resolution was tabled by the University Student Government at The Ohio State University, after it received a letter from Congress. The resolution was tabled on March 9 and the letter was received on March 21.
The University Student Government at Ohio State University tabled OSU Divest’s resolution, despite student leaders speaking in favor of the resolution and a big showing of support from organizations on campus, according to a OSU Divest press release.
Earlier this month, OSU Divest introduced a resolution to the USG, which called on the university to remove its investments in corporations complicit in human rights violations. Specifically, Group 4 Securicor (G4S), Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard. The resolution is backed by 23 student organizations.
The resolution will be reopened for discussion and could potentially be voted on March 23.
“The senate chamber was flooded with student supporters and organization leaders who gave powerful endorsement speeches. Despite the great show of support, the resolution was tabled for this Wednesday to give senators time to consult their constituents and educate themselves on the matter,” OSU Divest organizer and USG senator Sami Mubarak told Palestine in America.
After the decision to table the resolution was made on March 9, the USG received a letter from members in Congress—Patrick J. Tibiri, Steve Stivers and Joyce Beatty—on March 21, which demonized the divestment resolution and asked the student leaders to chose a different path.
“BDS efforts are counterproductive to reform. They create division on campus and inhibit constructive dialogue among among diverse parties seeking to work together to achieve peaceful solutions to a complex issue. Since its inception, the BDS movement has failed to bring Israeli and Palestinians together in peace,” the letter stated.
“We respectfully advise student leaders at The Ohio State University and other colleges and universities to reject the inherently divisive BDS approach and choose a path toward peace that is more productive and inclusive.”
Supporters of the resolution were disappointed by the USG’s decision and felt slighted by some of their student representatives.
“It was interesting to many of us that so many senators needed to talk to their constituents before making a well-informed decision, despite the fact that the room was filled with constituents who were obviously there to support the resolution. My own personal feeling on this matter was that my voice did not matter,”said Seema Sandhu, Committee for Justice in Palestine and OSU Divest member.
“The senators involved in USG did not represent me and did not care to represent me. Recently, there has been a lot of talk among students about how USG lacks diversity and does not truly represent Ohio State students. I could not agree more.”
Her hope is that USG senators will pay attention to minority students, and realize that the issue at hand is about human rights violations.
OSU Divest vowed to remain “steadfastly committed” to pushing the resolution through and ending OSU’s complicity in human rights violations.
Mubarak expressed his hope for the upcoming discussion.
“I hope my fellow senators listen to their concerned constituents and vote in favor of this resolution. As senators we have been privileged to be elected to student government positions, and it is our obligation to advocate for ethical university policy and ensure the student voice is represented. Through the power of resolution, this action recognizes the unwavering importance of student input in the decision-making and ensures that our pursuit of education is not at the expense of others’ fundamental human rights,” Mubarak said.