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March 26, 2014 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-03-26

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"We're not promoting conflict, we're
promoting discussion," he said. "And
we're promoting justice, through BDS or
whatever campaign it is to bring awareness
of this."
Both Erzouki and Kherallah stressed
that SAFE does hold dialogues and teach-
ins -the group held a dialogue after the
mock eviction, for example - but as an
activist organization, they also find it
important to take on projects such as the
mock evictions.
Not a silenced campus: Moving forward
It's unclear what will happen next: if
this is just a temporary rise in activity
around the issue, or if the increased focus
is here to stay.
This isn't the first time BDS, or the
conflict in general, has made waves on
campus. In 2005 and 2011, CSG voted
down resolutions to divest, though the
subject of the 2011 vote was broader than
just companies tied to Israel and Palestine.
In 2012, campus erupted in response to an
e-mail sent out by a member of a pro-Israel
student group accusing Omar Hashwi, then
a candidate for CSG vice president, whose
platform included advocating for "socially
responsible investments" of being anti-
Israel and homophobic. For at least the past
decade, there has been a succession of well-
attended, high-energy protests on campus.
In the end, none of these high notes were
enough to change the persistent issues of
identity and campus climate still reported
by students today.
However, this academic year isn't over
quite yet.
Two weeks ago, SAFE introduced a
resolution before CSG that would use the
body's influence to call on the University to

divest from the four companies it views as
assisting the Israeli military in committing
alleged human rights violations against
On the night of the March 18, CSG
representatives voted to postpone the
resolution indefinitely, sparking protests
both that night and the following days
in the form of a SAFE sit-in at the CSG
chambers, which lasted seven days as of
At Tuesday's meeting, CSG president
Michael Proppe, a Business senior,
motioned to reconsider the tabling of
the divestment resolution. After a series
of votes by CSG members, which were
preceded by a speaker and a 90-minute
community concerns section during which
proponents of both sides expressed their
opinions, the vote on the resolution was
opened early Wednesday morning.
After five hours of debate and discussion,
at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, the
divestment resolution failed to pass.
Following the announcement of the vote,
a speaker for supporters of the resolution
told attendees to walk out silently, and that
the next step was the University's Board of
In the end, the visibility that the BDS
campaign has garnered over the past two
semesters - from the mock evictions to the
resolution and protests - might be what's
most important, regardless of its success in
getting the University to divest, Hamdan
"That's the reality check, why do a lot
of students want a divestment?" Hamdan
said. "I think the BDS movement is a way to
understand a little bit what other students
on campus are feeling. And even if it makes
them uncomfortable and raises conflict, it's
better than us living on a silenced campus.


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