The New York University (NYU) Student Government Assembly passed a divestment resolution inspired by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) last night, in what campaigners hailed as "the first resolution of this nature ever to be presented at NYU".
According to a press release by NYU Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), the vote was carried by 35 votes in favour, and 14 against, with 14 abstentions, thus meeting the two-thirds threshold required.
The resolution, backed by 61 student groups and 34 faculty members, calls for "divesting from corporations that violate Palestinian human rights and calls on NYU to adopt a socially responsible investment policy that upholds human rights for all".
Three corporations were specifically targeted for their involvement in the violation of Palestinian human rights: Caterpillar Inc., Lockheed Martin, and General Electric.
NYU SJP said that the resolution urges the university "to divest from these companies as well as others complicit in human rights abuses of Palestinians and globally", and calls for "a socially responsible investment model, which would put in a place a screen to ensure the university's investments that uphold human rights for all".
The press release clarified that "the resolution will next need to be heard by the University Senate, consisting of students, faculty, deans and staff. If the resolution passes University Senate, it will be sent to the Board of Trustees for consideration."
The NYU student newspaper reported that "at least a hundred students" attended the meeting, with "another large crowd left waiting outside".
Those speaking in favour of the resolution included Political Action Chair for the Black Student Union Dylan Brown, who "mentioned that the struggles of black people in the United States cannot be separated from those of the Palestinian people".
"As a Palestinian, this resolution is deeply personal to me," said Leen Dweik, Alternate Senator-at-Large, and Students for Justice in Palestine.
As an NYU student, it hurts and shocks me that the university would continue to invest in companies that directly contribute to the human rights violations of my family and my people.
Resolution co-author Rose Asaf, Senator-at-Large and Jewish Voice for Peace-NYU, said: "I believe that I, as a Jewish person, have a responsibility to support Palestinians in their struggle for justice and liberation. NYU likes to give the illusion that it is a progressive institution, but how progressive can it actually be when it is actively funding human rights violations?"