On February 20th, 2015, the UC Regents Investments Committee held a meeting in the Covell Commons area of UCLA. Members of Fossil Free UC, Free University Coalition, UAW 2865, and Students for Justice in Palestine at UCLA all attended and provided public comments calling upon the Regents to respect the recent state-wide divestment victories for Palestinian rights and ecological futurity, as well as take sincere measures to enact reforms allowing for a truly affordable public education for UC students.
This marked the first occasion upon which an SJP was able to directly urge the Regents to respect the overwhelming student vote in favor of divestment from companies profiting from Israeli war crimes and the violation of Palestinian rights following the historic UCSA vote in favor of such divestment initiatives. As Education and Resources Director Faria Tahir said in her public comment: “No education should come with the price tag of the livelihood and sheer humanity of another group of people. Companies such as Raytheon, HP, Caterpillar, and Cemex – companies which the UC Fund is invested in, all facilitate and profit from Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, its construction of settlements in contravention of international law, and its construction of checkpoints and walls throughout the West Bank. Through our investments in these companies, we are complicit in these war crimes, we are all aiding and abetting the occupation of the Palestinian people.”
Now that SJPs throughout the UC system have taken the call for divestment as far as it can go at the student level, the time has come to begin the most challenging phase yet: pressuring the Regents into respecting the student call for divestment from companies engaged in the violation of Palestinian rights, and, more broadly, implementing mechanisms that will allow for transparency and accountability in educational investment decisions and facilitate greater student and faculty oversight in how our funds are used.
However, the recent spate of divestment victories across the state and the ever-increasing moral momentum in support of the campus divestment movement and the Palestinian call for BDS indicates that it is only a matter of time before this next difficult step is realized.