Council Talks Divestment for Eight Hours…But No Vote?

At last night’s A.S. Council meeting, an ethical, moral, and economic debate seized Price Center Ballroom East as the Pastafarians and the Robotologists vied for control of Delta Quadrant 4.

Wait, sorry. That was in Ballroom West.

In Ballroom East, Students for Justice in Palestine and Tritons for Israel debated an unquestionably serious resolution that SJP recently brought forth. It asks that the UC Board of Regents sever business ties with companies that are “profiting from the illegal occupation, siege, and blockade of Palestine.” The companies named include General Electric, Caterpillar Inc., and Northrop Grumman.

If you need some context for this resolution, go pick up a history book, as I’m sure the story of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict exceeds the word count of the Guardian, let alone this little column.

After an hour of rapid-fire public input, Tritons for Israel began special presentations with a refutation of the resolution. One of the organization’s points was that divestment harms the interlinked economies of Israel and Palestine in addition to the economy of UCSD itself.

Nicole Patolai of Tritons for Israel mentioned that Western powers are responsible for the modern geopolitical territory that Israel covers. 

“The boundaries between Israel and its neighbors were drawn by the British,” she said. 

It seems as if oppressed people of all races and creeds can at least unite under one banner — blame the British.

Following this presentation, council took a painfully brief break. I stayed chipper throughout this meeting, primarily due to caffeine and willpower.

SJP began its presentation by defining divestment as a tool to hold corporations accountable to claims of ethical business practices. A.S. Council successfully wielded this social gavel by divesting from fossil fuels at a recent meeting — yay, environment!

In response to a question about TFI’s support of a two-state solution, Jumanah Albahri brought up concerns about fair access to natural and economic resources.

“We cannot support a two-state plan for two groups of people,” Albahri said. “We now know that separate-but-equal doesn’t work.”

At some point in this meeting, I lost my fork, and as such, I didn’t get to eat my dinner. I realize that this was probably the least perturbing event of the evening, but still one that, for me, caused some sad feels.

And then we found out at 2 a.m. (councilmembers weren’t even close to finishing the debate) that a miscommunication between University Centers and A.S. Council meant that security had to leave. If the students had stayed, council would be considered liable, and they couldn’t have that. So they voted to postpone the vote to next Wednesday. 

After spending eight hours in Ballroom East listening to council shenanigans, I’m not only disappointed to leave without a decision by our esteemed council, but upset that I wasted 480 minutes of quality study time and sleep. What happened to the good ol’ days when I got out of meetings in two hours?