Senate Assembly passes measures on CSG votes, Israel divestment

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The University of Michigan faculty’s Senate Assembly passed resolutions Jan. 29 that call for university leadership to protect students’ free speech and for U-M to divest from companies that invest in Israel’s current military campaign in Gaza.

The first resolution grew out of the university administration’s cancellation last November of student votes on two resolutions related to ongoing violence in Israel and Gaza after it determined the voting process had been “irreparably tainted.”

The resolution states that the Senate Assembly “deprecates this unwarranted interference in the free expression of opinion and calls on the university’s leadership to protect and encourage the practice of deliberative democracy within the student community.”

It passed by a vote of 50-5, with two abstentions.

The second resolution calls on the university “to divest from its financial holdings in companies that invest in Israel’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza.”

It passed by a vote of 38-17 with five abstentions, after wording was changed to refer to companies that “invest in” rather than “profit from” Israel’s military campaign.

Opponents said the resolution would prove divisive on campus and potentially increase antisemitism.

The resolution specified that it is not a request to end support “for any of U-M’s partnerships with Israeli colleges or universities or to otherwise imply ending any assistance provided to faculty and students in support of research and education in Israel.”

Geoff Chatas, executive vice president and chief financial officer, presented a brief statement to clarify the university’s policies on divestment.

“It has been the university’s unwavering policy to shield the endowment from political pressures and to base its investment decisions on financial factors such as risk and return and applicable law,” Chatas said.

“Any consideration for divestment is approached by the regents with due diligence, aligning with the university’s financial health and its mission-centric investment philosophy.”

The Senate Assembly is the legislative arm of U-M’s central faculty governance system, consisting of 77 elected members from the Ann Arbor, Dearborn and Flint campuses.

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Comments

  1. Robert Beattie
    on February 4, 2024 at 2:05 am

    Why was there no reference to stopping support organizations that help Hamas’ continuing actions to exterminate the Israel state?

  2. Yuri Gurevich
    on February 18, 2024 at 11:24 am

    Concerning the resolution “to divest from its financial holdings in companies that invest in Israel’s ongoing military campaign in Gaza”, have I missed similar resolutions about Russia’s ongoing military campaign in Ukraine and other conflicts?
    Why do you single out Israel? (The question is admittedly rhetorical, but serious. Think about it.)

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