After a prolonged debate Tuesday night underscored by months of campus controversy, the Minnesota Student Association passed a resolution calling for the University of Minnesota to divest from companies that profit from human rights violations.
The original resolution, dating back to February explicitly, called for divestment from four specific companies: Caterpillar, Elbit Systems, G4S and Raytheon.
Sami Rahamim, president of Students Supporting Israel, proposed on Tuesday to strike any language referring to individual businesses.
“The companies were chosen specifically to target Israel and thereby the Jewish community on campus,” Rahamim said.
The amendment to remove the names of the four companies from the resolution passed in a secret ballot.
Rula Rashid, president of Students for Justice in Palestine and one of the authors for the resolution, said the proposal was intended to address global human rights and was not meant to be an attack on Israel or the Jewish community.
“I think it’s important to list out the atrocities committed by these companies,” Rashid said at the debate.
Arguing that the amendment definitively changed the resolution’s message, Rashid asked at the debate to strike the names of all sponsors and authors from the document.
By the end of Tuesday’s meeting, only Rahamim’s name remained on the resolution, though he said more will be added.
Though students hotly argued the proposal’s semantics, both sides agreed on a call for increased transparency from the University on its financial investments.
“This is about human rights violations. … And if the University is in anyway funding that, it needs to stop,” said Natasha Moore, a first-year student who voiced support for the original resolution at Tuesday’s meeting.