Breaking: NYU Government Assembly Passes Resolution Supporting Palestinian Rights

December 6, 2018

Media contact, Rose Asaf, rla314@nyu.edu

New York University Student Government Assembly Passes BDS Resolution

“As an American-Israeli Jewish woman, I understand that my liberation is tied up with the liberation of Palestinians and all oppressed people around the world. As NYU students, we must reckon with our complicity in our university’s unethical investments and situate ourselves firmly on the side of justice. Our only safety is through solidarity.” — Rose Asaf, Senator at-Large for Marginalized Jewish Students, Student Activists, Students With Mental Health Struggles and Jewish Voice for Peace-NYU

“Student Government Assembly has made the historic decision to stand with Palestinian human rights and human rights globally. As a Palestinian, I could not be more thrilled at this step forward toward liberation and justice. As it stands, NYU is profiting from the death and destruction of communities across the globe. The university must commit to divesting from corporations capitalizing off the violations of human rights or it will once again fall on the wrong side of history.”— Leen Dweik, Alternate Senator-at Large for Middle Eastern & North African Students, Documented Non-citizen Students and Students for Justice in Palestine-NYU

“As a Black woman, I deeply understand the importance of heeding indigenous calls for liberation. This is why I wholeheartedly support the Palestinian call to support the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This resolution was written in the spirit of the BDS movement, in the spirit of Palestinian liberation, and in the spirit of supporting marginalized communities. I am so proud to have contributed to this cause, and proud to be part of a Student Government that stands for human rights.” — Bayan Abubakr, Senator at-Large for Muslim Students and Students for Justice in Palestine-NYU

(New York University, NY) — The New York University (NYU) Student Government Assembly passed a divestment resolution inspired by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS) on December 6th by a vote of 35 in favor, 14 against, and 14 abstaining, meeting the ⅔ threshold that was 33 votes. This is the first resolution of this nature ever to be presented at NYU. The “Resolution on the Human Rights of Palestinians” 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. The resolution was presented by Senators-at-Large Bayan Abubakr and Rose Asaf along with Alternate Senator-at-Large Leen Dweik. Asaf, Abubakr, and Dweik are all seniors at NYU and members of Students for Justice in Palestine. Additionally, Asaf is a member of Jewish Voice for Peace.

Targeting three corporations — Caterpillar Inc., Lockheed Martin, and General Electric — the resolution brings attention to the ways in which these corporations violate Palestinian human rights. The resolution calls on the university to divest from these companies as well as others complicit in human rights abuses of Palestinians and globally. The resolution ultimately calls on the university to implement 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 resolution is supported by 61 student groups listed in Appendix A. These include the undergraduate student government of the NYU Silver School of Social Work, the Black Student Union, the Interfaith Students of Color Coalition at NYU and the NYU College Libertarians, amongst others. In addition to these clubs, there are 35 faculty endorsements who are listed in Appendix B. The presentation of the resolution comes a month after more than thirty student groups at NYU pledged non-cooperation with the NYU Tel Aviv campus. This also comes weeks after student activists organized to get a talk by Milo Yiannopoulos canceled. NYU’s study body now joins Barnard College’s, which passed a referendum in support of divestment last year.

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.

Author quotes:

“As a Palestinian, this resolution is deeply personal to me. 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.”

- Leen Dweik, Alternate Senator-at-Large, and Students for Justice in Palestine

“As an American-Israeli Jewish person, I am co-authoring this resolution because of my identity — not in spite of it. 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?”
- Rose Asaf, Senator-at-Large and Jewish Voice for Peace-NYU

“I co-authored this resolution because I have a role and stake in the Palestinian struggle for liberation and justice. To quote Lilla Watson, all of our liberations are bound together. As a first-generation Sudanese-American Muslim, I cannot idly stand by as the institution that I attend perpetuates imperial violence in Palestine and beyond. I want NYU to reckon with the fact that it profits off of the destruction of Palestinian livelihoods, communities, and homes.”
- Bayan Abubakr, Senator-at-Large and Students for Justice in Palestine NYU

Appendix A: Supporting Groups

  1. Advocate Coalition (Against) Trafficking at NYU (Re-ACT)
  2. African Heritage Month
  3. African Student Union
  4. NYU Aftab Literary Magazine
  5. NYU Against Fascism
  6. Arab Students United
  7. Asian American Women’s Alliance at NYU
  8. Asian Heritage Month
  9. NYU Asian Pacific American Coalition
  10. Bella Quisqueya (BQ)
  11. Black and Brown Coalition at NYU
  12. NYU Black Muslim Initiative
  13. Black Students Union (BSU)
  14. Brownstone Publication
  15. Campgrrl
  16. NYU Coalition on Law & Representation (CoLR)
  17. NYU College Libertarians
  18. NYU Disorient
  19. NYU Divest for Climate Justice
  20. NYU Dream Team
  21. Gentlemen of Quality (GQ)
  22. GSOC-UAW Local 2110 — The Union for Graduate Employees at New York University
  23. Haitian American Students Association (HASA)
  24. Hermandad de Sigma Iota Alpha, Inc.
  25. Incarceration to Education Coalition
  26. NYU International Socialist Organization
  27. NYU Jewish Voice for Peace
  28. La Herencia Latina
  29. Latinos Unidos Con Honor y Amistad at NYU (LUCHA)
  30. NYU Law Students for Justice in Palestine (LSJP)
  31. Malaysian Students Association
  32. NYU Mexican Student Association (MexSA)
  33. Mosaic: The Interfaith Students of Color Coalition at NYU
  34. MuCh — Muslim Christian Dialogue at NYU
  35. Muslim Graduate Student Group
  36. NYU Muslim Students Association
  37. National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) at NYU
  38. Native American and Indigenous Student Group at NYU
  39. The Omicron Chapter of Phi Iota Alpha
  40. Pakistani Students Association at NYU
  41. NYU PorColombia
  42. NYU Sanctuary Student Taskforce
  43. SHADES: For LGBTQ Students of Color and Allies at NYU
  44. Shuruq: Islamic Heritage Month
  45. NYU Slam! Poetry Club
  46. NYU Students Against Gentrification and Expansion
  47. NYU Students for Justice in Palestine
  48. Student Labor Action Movement at NYU
  49. NYU Tandon Muslim Students Association
  50. Turkish Student Association at NYU
  51. T-Party at NYU
  52. NYU ¡Viva Perú!
  53. NYU Young Democratic Socialists of America
  54. Biracial and Multicultural Student Association
  55. NYU-Wagner’s Black Student Association
  56. Justice Initiative at Global Public Health NYU
  57. Map Club at NYU
  58. Nutrition Without Borders at Global Public Health NYU
  59. NYU Silver Undergraduate Student Government Association
  60. Bioethics @ NYU
  61. Anthropology Undergraduate Student Association

Appendix B: Faculty Support

  1. Andrew Ross, Professor
  2. Arang Keshavarzian, Associate Professor
  3. Arun Kundani, Visiting Assistant Professor
  4. Barbara Weinstein, Silver Professor
  5. Bertell Ollman, Professor
  6. Diana Taylor, Professor
  7. Elaine Freedgood, Professor
  8. Fred Moten, Professor
  9. Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Professor
  10. Greg Grandin, Professor
  11. Harty Field, Professor
  12. James S. Uleman, Professor and T-FSC Senator
  13. Jeff Goodwin, Professor
  14. Jini Watson, Associate Professor
  15. John Michael Archer, Professor
  16. Kathy Engel, Associate Professor
  17. Lenora Hanson, Assistant Professor
  18. Lisa Duggan, Professor
  19. Maria Josefina Saldaña-Portillo, Professor
  20. Marie Cruz Soto, Clinical Assistant Professor
  21. Marie Monaco, Associate Professor
  22. Mark Crispin Miller, Professor
  23. Monica Kim, Assistant Professor
  24. Nicholas Mirzoeff, Professor
  25. Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor
  26. Rebecca E. Karl, Professor
  27. Renee Blake, Associate Professor
  28. Sinan Antoon, Associate Professor
  29. Sonya Posmentier, Associate Professor
  30. Thuy Linh Tu, Associate Professor
  31. Timothy J. Reiss, Emeritus Professor
  32. Valerie Forman, Associate Professor
  33. Vasuki Nesiah, Associate Professor of Practice
  34. Vivek Chibber, Professor
  35. Zachary Lockman, Professor