Pomona President Urges Student Gov’t To “Reverse Course” On Israel Boycott
In response to yesterday’s vote by the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC), Pomona College’s student government organization, to boycott companies invested in Israel, Pomona President G. Gabrielle Starr and other senior administrators urged ASPC “to reverse course and allow for full discussion” of the issue. Starr cited a lack of representation from student opposition as a reason for her objection.
In her email, Starr implied that Pomona’s administration only learned of the ASPC vote “[t]his morning.” According to Starr, Pomona, acknowledging “the extraordinary strain in which we are living, the ways in which the politics of the Middle East are so deeply connected to religious identities and that this vote came at a time when students are away from campus amid a global pandemic…urge[s] ASPC to discuss this in greater depth, allowing for opposing voices to make their cases, so that our student governance can be inclusive and representative of all members of the community. We believe this vote works against the dialogue that is critical for constructive engagement of diverse voices on our campus.”
Starr criticized “[t]he resolution’s stated goal of eventually enacting requirements that all student clubs supported by ASPC—not just ASPC itself—comply with its divestment stance or lose funding,” calling it a matter “of deep concern, as it would require all students, regardless of their views, to participate in a boycott.”
Starr also explained that “[t]his vote was held without representation from any student opposition. The independence of student government in passing its resolutions is important, but so is the representation of the student body as a whole and given the lack of debate and the passions this vote may stir, we want to convey our deep concern.”
In her email, Starr explained that the vote’s goal “to ban clubs from using student government allocations to invest in or purchase goods or services from companies that contribute to the settlement and occupation of Palestinian occupied territories by the U.N.-designated companies or the Israeli state. Clubs that fail to divest and/or refrain from such uses of funding would face the loss of all Claremont Colleges Student Government Association funds,” is “not yet enacted.”
The email concluded with an exhortation from Starr that ASPC “reverse course and allow for full discussion.” Starr said that Pomona would “welcome an open dialogue on this matter.”
Prior to Starr’s email, the Twitter account for Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) Report, self-described as “[o]pposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement,” began circulating a petition urging Starr to rejected ASPC’s vote.
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