Stanford re-votes, divestment passes in a landslide victory

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Press Release issued by Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine 

On February 17, the Undergraduate Senate of Stanford University voted 10-1-4 to pass a resolution to divest from the occupation of the Palestinian Territories. The resolution, entitled A Resolution to Divest from Companies Violating Human Rights in Occupied Palestine, calls on Stanford to stop investing in multinational corporations facilitating human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The Senate Chair and Senate Deputy Chair motioned to reconsider the resolution after it was narrowly defeated by one vote last week (9 for, 1 abstention, 5 against). The senators stated that the hostile environment opponents of divestment created at last week’s hearing impeded their ability to vote with clarity and requested the opportunity to align their votes with their true opinions. In the original vote, the two senators had respectively abstained and voted no. After their motion to reconsider passed in Tuesday’s hearing, they changed their votes to a ‘yes’ and ‘abstain.’ The re-vote followed a two hour-long hearing and ended in a historic vote in favor of divestment with 10 senators voting in support, one abstention, and 4 against.

Organizers of the campaign were surprised that the Senate decided to vote on the resolution again and expressed excitement about the Senate vote.

“After months of hard work, it is gratifying to witness the Senate answer our call and affirm our efforts towards divestment.” said sophomore Ramah Awad. “Our next step is to pressure the Board of Trustees to follow through. We ask the Board and President Hennessy directly: ‘Are you going to listen to the student voice?’”

Another student expressed support for the senators who decided to reconsider their vote.

“Students from the campaign against divestment have written us acknowledging their ‘hateful and spiteful’ behavior during last week’s hearing,” said senior Manny Thompson. “We appreciate that the Chair and Deputy Chair spoke up about how they felt intimidated to vote their conscience and that the Senate ultimately reaffirmed its majority support for divestment.”

The resolution focuses on multinational corporations and identifies multiple actors as being complicit in the violations against Palestinians living under occupation, including the governments of Israel, Egypt, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority. The resolution states that the Undergraduate Senate is not connected to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and affirms both Israelis and Palestinians’ rights to life, safety, and self-determination.

The resolution was brought forth by the Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine (SOOP) coalition. The diverse coalition consists of 19 student groups including the Black Student Union, MEChA, and Stanford Students for Queer Liberation. The resolution called on the University to evaluate its investments and divest from companies fitting the following criteria:

  1. Maintaining the illegal infrastructure of the Israeli occupation, in particular settlements and separation wall.
  2. Facilitating Israel and Egypt’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians.
  3. Facilitating state repression against Palestinians by Israeli, Egyptian or Palestinian Authority security forces.

Stanford Out of Occupied Palestine came together in pursuit of selective divestment as a response to the call from Palestinian civil society to exert economic pressure to end to the violations of their basic human rights.  Over the course of seven weeks SOOP’s campaign gathered immense student support; over 1,600 Stanford students signed SOOP’s petition.

With Tuesday’s vote, Stanford joins a growing number of student governments–most notably the University of California Student Association–in responding to a call from Palestinian society for divestment. After this vote, SOOP will work with Senators to pressure the Board of Trustees to divest from the violation of Palestinian human rights.

“As a student in the movement, I look forward to continuously engaging the campus in this conversation,” said junior Natasha Patel, “We are not done uplifting the call of Palestinian peoples nor are we finished pushing our University to conduct an ethical review of its investments.”

A Resolution to Divest from Companies Violating Human Rights in Occupied Palestine

WHEREAS the Stanford University Code of Conduct states that all members of the Stanford University community “are responsible for sustaining the highest ethical standards of this institution, and of the broader community in which we function,[1]”

WHEREAS in managing university investments, Stanford University Trustees have a fiduciary responsibility to consider both financial risk and “substantial social injury,” defined as “proximate corporate direct or indirect actions that cause injury to… individuals, or groups… [and] violat[e], subver[t], or frustrat[e] enforcement of rules of domestic or international law intended to protect individuals and/or groups against deprivation of health, safety, basic freedoms or human rights,”[2]

WHEREAS Stanford University has a rich history of calling for ethical oversight of its endowment as a non-violent strategy towards social change, which has included divestment from companies violating human rights in South Africa and Sudan, the adoption of criteria pertaining to conflict minerals in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and divestment from coal mining companies following last year’s fossil free divestment student campaign,

WHEREAS international humanitarian law recognizes the right of all people, including Israelis and Palestinians, to life, security[3] and self-determination[4],

WHEREAS Israel has been recognized by international law since 1967 as an occupying power in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza[5], hereafter referred to as the Occupied Palestinian Territories,

WHEREAS this resolution calls for targeted divestment from multinational corporations causing substantial social injury by violating international humanitarian law in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, regardless of which countries contract said corporations,

WHEREAS multinational corporations disproportionately conduct business in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as compared to other conflict areas (e.g. Syria or North Korea), where binding law often prevents engagement with human rights violators,

WHEREAS many of the same companies profiting from human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories also profit from such violations against communities of color within the United States,[6]

WHEREAS Stanford’s May 2014 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings demonstrate past direct holdings in Raytheon and Eaton Corp[7], corporations that are implicated in such violations of international humanitarian law[8], suggesting that Stanford’s current and future investment portfolios are likely to include similar companies,

WHEREAS investment in these companies shows implicit support for such violations, and the only way to achieve financial neutrality is to end our investment in such companies,

WHEREAS selective divestment, as in the context of South Africa and Sudan, does not seek to determine a political solution nor target a particular ethnic or religious community, but rather the actions of a set of multinational corporations that facilitate human rights abuses and violations of international law,

WHEREAS our peers at many university student associations, including Wesleyan University, Oberlin College, DePaul University, Evergreen State College, UC Irvine, UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UCLA, and UC Davis have passed resolutions calling for divestment from companies that violate international law and human rights in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories,

WHEREAS the petition asking Stanford’s Board of Trustees to selectively divest from companies that violate international law and human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has been signed by over 1500 current students and 19 Stanford student groups, including Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), Students for Alternatives to Militarism (SAM), the Asian American Student Association (AASA), MEChA de Stanford, Stanford National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Stanford NAACP), Black Student Union (BSU), Student And Labor Alliance (SALA), Stanford Asian American Activism Committee (SAAAC), Muslim Students Awareness Network (MSAN), Pilipino American Student Union (PASU), Arab Students’ Association at Stanford (ASAS), First Generation Low Income Partnership (FLIP), International Socialist Organization at Stanford (ISO), Stanford Students for Queer Liberation (SSQL), Stanford American Indian Organization (SAIO), Islamic Society of Stanford University (ISSU), Pakistanis at Stanford (PaS), Stanford University Students for  UNICEF (SUSU), and the Stanford Law School chapter of the National Lawyers Guild (SLS-NLG),

WHEREAS these companies’ actions affect the Stanford community directly, including students whose families live under occupation, and thus attend an institution complicit in violence against their own communities,

WHEREAS the Associated Students of Stanford University has been authorized “to exercise major privileges and responsibilities” with the express purpose of “[encouraging] responsible citizenship and the exercise of individual and corporate responsibility on the part of students,”[9]

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Associated Students of Stanford University Undergraduate Senate, exercising its representative authority on behalf of all undergraduates:

THAT the ASSU Undergraduate Senate calls upon the Stanford University Trustees to divest from companies that violate international humanitarian law by:


  1. Maintaining the illegal infrastructure of the Israeli occupation, in particular settlements and separation wall, which includes companies like Veolia Transdev and Elbit Systems[10]
  2. Facilitating Israel and Egypt’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians, which includes companies like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, and Eaton Corp[11]
  3. Facilitating state repression against Palestinians by Israeli, Egyptian or Palestinian Authority security forces, which includes companies like Combined Tactical Systems and G4S,[12]

THAT the ASSU Undergraduate Senate calls upon the Stanford University Trustees to withdraw investments in securities, endowments, mutual funds, and other monetary instruments with holdings in Veolia Transdev, Caterpillar, Raytheon, Eaton Corp, Lockheed Martin, Combined Tactical Systems, G4S, and all corporations that are similarly complicit in violating these criteria, at such time and in such manner as to be determined by the Board of Trustees with the goal of maintaining the divestment until they cease these specific practices deemed as unethical by the Stanford community,

THAT this is not a resolution concerning boycotts nor sanctions from any nation state,

THAT this resolution overrules the previous resolution UGS-W2013-10 that passed in the 14th  Undergraduate Senate,

LET IT FINALLY BE RESOLVED that the ASSU Undergraduate Senate, exercising its representative authority on behalf of all undergraduates, calls upon our university to affirm its commitment to justice for all people by divesting from companies implicated in our criteria for substantial social injury in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, many of which facilitate parallel injury against communities of color here in the United States.


[2] Stanford University’s Statement on Investment Responsibility


[4] UN General Assembly, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 16 December 1966, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 999, p. 171, available at:

[5] Geneva Convention, UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch;|outline

[6] See supplementary document.

[7] Stanford’s May 2014 SEC Filings:

[8] See supplementary document.

[9] The Constitution of of the Associated Students of Stanford University:,4.

[10] In violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. See supplement.

[11] In violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. See supplement.

[12] In violation of the United Nations’ International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. See supplement.

Supplementary Document 
Background on our Criteria for Substantial Social Injury

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32 Responses

  1. CloakAndDagger
    February 18, 2015, 10:38 am

    As I have been saying, the tipping point is here! Go Stanford!

  2. just
    February 18, 2015, 10:43 am


    Good job, students with conscience!

    Board of Trustees~ don’t shame yourselves. Do the right thing and uphold the will of the majority of these good people. Remember that it was a “landslide” and that ‘hateful and spiteful’ intimidation was employed to silence and subvert last week in the prelude to this wonderful and majority desired outcome…

  3. amigo
    February 18, 2015, 10:56 am

    Didn,t one or two of our zio apologists tell us last week that BDS lost this one because they were one vote short .Oh what a difference a few days and some clear thinking can make.

    Must be tough being ivri or hopknee or mayhem.Their reps just cannot hold the line .I wonder if we will hear from them on this latest outcome.

    • Mooser
      February 18, 2015, 1:37 pm

      “Didn,t one or two of our zio apologists tell us last week that BDS lost this one because they were one vote short”

      Oh yes.

  4. pabelmont
    February 18, 2015, 11:00 am

    Terrific. Glad they pointed out the atrocious behavior of anti-divestment students and overcame it on he second try. Glad they HAD a second try. BRAVO. (How has this sort of thing fared at the Lair of the Golden Bear — UC-Berkeley?)

  5. Kay24
    February 18, 2015, 11:41 am

    Thank you Stanford, and all those who worked hard to achieve this. It is always a nice feeling when you see folks fighting for justice and freedom for people who are otherwise helpless.

  6. John Douglas
    February 18, 2015, 11:52 am

    Terrific development and very well-written motion. I must have missed a report on what took place during the original vote.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 18, 2015, 1:21 pm

      john, i was watching the live stream of the original senate meeting and vote, including constant updates on the twitter hashtag #stanforddivest when the horrifying news began flowing in thru social media about the chapel hill executions. i’m not sure we covered the first vote here the next day (i think not) and understandably circumstances of the first vote (9-4 with one abstention, not enough for 2/3 majority) was buried due to the overwhelming shock and grief reverberating throughout the community.

      i know for myself i could write or report anything i was so devastated. anyway, if you check the hashtag (make sure “by all” not “top”) and scroll you can read live reactions during the first meeting.

  7. DoubleStandard
    February 18, 2015, 12:19 pm

    The BoT won’t listen; it listens to its donors to people who are in important positions. And it passed at Berkeley 2 years ago.

    They obviously harassed one of the senators to change their vote and made it worth their while to just give in. IMO last time it got 9-5, so the divestment people “won” regardless of whether it reached the required supermajority. It doesn’t matter whether it technically passes since Stanford isn’t actually going to do it.

    Look how many schools have student bodies who want to divest from fossil fuels yet the BoT still won’t. This issue is 1000000 times more controversial

    • Annie Robbins
      February 18, 2015, 12:57 pm

      They obviously harassed one of the senators to change their vote and made it worth their while to just give in.

      actually, i watched the live stream. the people doing the harassing were not supporters of divestment. one of the senators broke down in tears saying she didn’t think she could cast a vote the verbiage was so accusatory and hostile coming from the israel supporters. so no, i think the report here is accurate and i don’t think other senate members would agree to another vote unless it reflected the true intention of the person who abstained because of pressure. you would have to have been listening to understand the degree of acrimony. and we saw that same attitude from hillel members in the video from the senate meeting at Ohio University last year.

      “coalition4peace” were the anti divestment group.

      whereas these people were civil:

      • Annie Robbins
        February 18, 2015, 1:04 pm

        oh, plus israel supporters lied in their testimony to the senate and one point claiming stanford divest “hated” israel. they made numerous intimidating inflammatory statements and accusations.

      • Annie Robbins
        February 18, 2015, 1:24 pm

        and here’s one more

        this is from local staff journo: “Stanford senior, libertarian columnist for The @Stanford_Daily, staff writer for The @StanfordReview”

      • Marnie
        February 19, 2015, 12:55 pm

        Love these young folks!

    • Pixel
      February 19, 2015, 2:05 am


      Young people love a real cause. They’re idealist, have lots of energy, and once they lock onto something, peer pressure, if nothing else, draws them in.

      It may take time but when a critical mass is reached they’re not just going to sit there. They’re going to to march, close down their schools, take over the admin buildings, just like the 60’s.

      They’re itching for a cause and they’re aching for the 60’s. The Beatles have made a huge resurgence and peasant blouses are popping up. Nehru jackets will be next.

      Ok, so I wax poetic. In the end, I don’t think they’ll sit still. Moreover, the BoT have kids and grand kids who may stop talking to them and view them with contempt and derision.

      Never trust anyone over 30!

      • DoubleStandard
        February 19, 2015, 3:07 am

        Funny. I’d say don’t trust anyone under thirty. Wait till you learn about life a bit.

    • talknic
      February 19, 2015, 4:23 am

      @ DoubleStandard “They obviously harassed one of the senators to change their vote and made it worth their while to just give in”

      Uh huh. And you reached this conclusion based on what exactly? Anything factual ?

      • Mooser
        February 20, 2015, 12:28 pm

        “Uh huh. And you reached this conclusion based on what exactly? Anything factual ?”

        Didn’t you see DS’s comment He bases it on the “never trust anyone under thirty” dictum.

    • Annie Robbins
      February 19, 2015, 12:04 pm

      double standard, if you have any evidence to provide to support your insinuation SJP or any groups supporting divestment on campus practice intimidation or any form of anti semitism on campus in the promotion of BDS, i really hope you present it to us because i will be the first to make a stink about it.

    • amigo
      February 19, 2015, 3:37 pm

      “They obviously harassed one of the senators to change their vote and made it worth their while to just give in ” DS

      Much the same as Richard Goldstone being barred from his grandson,s bar-mitzvah.No harassment eh DS.You are truly a gem.

  8. Sycamores
    February 18, 2015, 1:25 pm

    truly amazing, way to go Stanford!

    strange how your eyes play tricks with your mind. i read the anti divestment group as ‘collision2peace’.

  9. just
    February 18, 2015, 2:10 pm

    OT, but important imho, and for anyone who is following this situation:

    “UMass Amherst Will Accept Iranian Students into Science and Engineering Programs, Revising Approach to Admissions
    February 18, 2015

    AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst today announced that it will accept Iranian students into science and engineering programs, developing individualized study plans to meet the requirements of federal sanctions law and address the impact on students. The decision to revise the university’s approach follows consultation with the State Department and outside counsel.

    “This approach reflects the university’s longstanding commitment to wide access to educational opportunities,” said Michael Malone, vice chancellor for research and engagement. “We have always believed that excluding students from admission conflicts with our institutional values and principles. It is now clear, after further consultation and deliberation, that we can adopt a less restrictive policy.””

    I’m glad, but it was nasty /stupid that they did it at all. I’m still wondering who/what was behind it…

    (for more of the backstory, you can go here:

    • oldgeezer
      February 18, 2015, 2:32 pm

      It was certainly a solution in search of a problem.

    • Giles
      February 18, 2015, 6:29 pm

      Well that’s good news.

      I would love to know who was behind the original decision to exclude Iranians students. I bet that blackballing was not to be applied to Iranian Jewish students.

      • just
        February 18, 2015, 8:21 pm

        “I would love to know who was behind the original decision to exclude Iranians students. I bet that blackballing was not to be applied to Iranian Jewish students.”

        So would I, and probably not, Giles.

        Chris Hayes just covered this, albeit briefly.

        Kudos to Corey Robin et al.

  10. Pixel
    February 19, 2015, 1:56 am


    English Dictionary
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    Definitions exclamation:
    (informal, old-fashioned) an expression of pleasurable surprise)

    … contrasted with the Urban Dictionary definition (don’t even ask)

  11. just
    February 19, 2015, 2:15 pm


    “After more than five hours of debate, ASG Senate narrowly passes NUDivest resolution

    Associated Student Government Senate passed a Northwestern Divest-sponsored resolution early Thursday morning asking the University to divest from six corporations the resolution’s sponsors say violate Palestinians’ human rights.
    The resolution passed with 24 votes in favor and 22 votes against, with three abstentions. The vote, cast through a secret ballot, came after more than five hours of debate, during which senators, students and alumni alternated speaking for and against the resolution.
    Attendees filled 400 seats in Norris University Center’s Louis Room to watch or contribute to the debate. An NUDivest supporter also live-streamed the meeting online. The video attracted about 300 viewers throughout the night, and the meeting caught the attention of activists around the country on social media.”

    the article is quite interesting @

    I really appreciated this:

    “McCormick senior Hagar Gomaa, who identified herself as Egyptian-American, addressed opponents of the resolution who said it made them uncomfortable.

    “Discomfort is felt by every person of color on this campus,” she said. “We feel discomfort any time we bring up an unpopular opinion or voice a controversial issue. To those who say this divestment bill makes you uncomfortable, I say: Check your privilege.””

  12. DaBakr
    February 20, 2015, 9:27 pm

    up and down, back and forth:

    An Israel divestment resolution passed at the University of California Davis last month by the student senate was overturned on February 19 by the university’s Court of Associated Students.
    The court ruled 5-0, with one abstention, in favor of Jonathan Mitchell, who had filed a case with the court contending that the Associated Students UC Davis had failed to adhere to its own constitution in passing the Israel divestment resolution 8-2, with two abstentions, on January 29.
    The court ruling found that any legislation passed by the senate, even those on politically related issues, “can and must be primarily concerning student welfare.”
    The court found the divestment resolution “to be primarily a political document and did not deal with student welfare to the extent that allowed the ASUCD Senate jurisdiction to pass.”

    and on and on. is it an important battle or is it a distraction fought -as if its a crucial threat -by Israel to deflect attention away from all its billion dollar deals with China India, S.Korea and Japan. At least one thing is certain-that the US relationship with Israel is evolving into something different then it was in the 20th

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