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  • Liam Bayer

Pomona Students Vote to Divest from Israeli "Apartheid"

Copyright of Dave and Margie Hill.

On Thursday, February 22, Pomona College's student government, released the results from the referendum on the "the apartheid system within the State of Israel." Voters were asked to vote "yes" or "no" on five propositions concerning the college's endowment. Each of the five propositions received support from more than 75 percent of voters.

With a 59.2 percent voter turnout, 78.29 percent voted for the College to "cease all academic support" for the State of Israel, 86.17 percent voted for the College to disclose its "investments in all companies aiding the ongoing apartheid system within the State of Israel," and 81.67 percent voted for the college to divest completely from said companies. In addition, 90.79 percent of voters voted for the college to disclose its investments in weapons manufacturers, and 85.16 percent voted for the College to divest completely from said companies.

In an Instagram post Thursday, Divest Claremont Colleges proclaimed victory. The activist group initiated the referendum earlier this semester with the support of 34 student clubs. Divest Claremont casts divestment as "a material way Pomona can reject complicity with an ongoing apartheid." The Pomona student government deliberated for three weeks before a majority agreed to proceed. The result of this referendum, like ASPC’s 2022 Climate Divestment referendum, does not bind the college administration.

The night before the vote, supporters campaigned by soliciting at the entrances of Pomona dining halls, cold calling students, and hosting a Teach In. An email from Housing and Residence Life stated that "unapproved advertisements were distributed throughout the residence halls, including being placed on and under students' doors."

Last Friday, Pomona College President Gabrielle Starr expressed her opposition to the referendum in an email to the student body. "There are many ways to help heal a broken world," she wrote, "This is not one of them." Other opponents wrote in a TSL opinion that the referendum’s “one-sided, divisive language” would sway the vote.

Disclosure: The author of this article is a non-voting staff member of the Pomona College student senate.


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