NEW YORK, PALESTINOW.COM — The Columbia University in New York held a student referendum on the contentious Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement on Tuesday.
The campus-wide vote saw about 61 percent of the respondents voting to urge the institution to divest “its stocks, funds and endowment” from companies linked with Israel’s actions which “fall under the United Nations International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.”
About 27 percent of the students voted against the motion and about 11 percent abstained, the Jewish Insider reports, with the turnout in the referendum standing at just below 40 percent.
Columbia University Apartheid Divest, the group behind the referendum, welcomed the outcome, while Students Supporting Israel, a pro-Jewish state advocacy on campus, warned that “Jewish students are three to eight times more likely to be victims of anti-Jewish hostility after BDS resolutions pass.”
Responding to the referendum, approved last week, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger said that the vote is unlikely to have any effect on the university’s investments.
“At Columbia, questions about possible divestment of endowment funds are not decided by referendum but through a process involving the University’s Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing,” he stressed.
“It is unfair and inaccurate to single out this specific dispute for this purpose when there are so many other, comparably deeply entrenched conflicts around the world,” the statement adds.