By Jackson Richman (JNS) – Cornell University’s student government rejected a resolution on Thursday calling for the school to divest from entities “profiting from the occupation of Palestine and human-rights violations.” The final tally done by secret ballot was 14 votes in favor, 13 votes against and one abstention, plus two “community votes” against the measure. The motion for a secret ballot, despite its passage, violated the Student Assembly’s bylaws, which “dictate that secret ballots may only be used during executive meetings,” reported The Cornell Daily Sun. The “community vote,” which couldn’t be split, was 248 in favor, 330 against and four abstentions. NetIDs, which is an electronic individual identifier for Cornell members, were used to check eligibility. A motion by a pro-BDS representative, senior Omar Din, to remove the two community votes was rejected by the student government. Another resolution co-sponsor, senior Mahfuza Shovik, disparaged the anti-BDS crowd. “It concerns me that there are people standing against this resolution without knowing the facts,” she said. “The opposition inaccurately portrayed this resolution as an act of BDS.” However, S.A. vice president for external affairs condemned the anti-Israel measure. “I have been extremely disappointed by the way this resolution has been handled by everyone involved,” said junior Savanna Lim. “You can’t expect a student government to solve a geopolitical crisis.”
Ahead of the vote, an Israeli student at Cornell, Shir Kidron, whose home was hit by a rocket launched by Hamas from Gaza was told in a Facebook comment by a pro-Palestinian campus group to “quit complaining about how it ruined your brunch plans.” Kidron wrote in the Sun about the experience and warned about the growing ramifications of BDS.
In March, Cornell University president Martha E. Pollack rejected BDS.