U of South Florida student body president, VP veto divestment resolution

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — The student body president and vice president at the University of South Florida vetoed a resolution that calls for the divestment from companies complicit in human rights violations against the Palestinian people.

Andy Rodriguez and Michael Malanga, the president and vice president, respectively, of the Student Government Senate, rejected the resolution at the body’s meeting on Tuesday. Last week, the  student senate approved the resolution by a vote of 32-12, with four abstentions, the student newspaper The Oracle reported.

The measure asks the USF Foundation to stop investing in companies that support tobacco products, fossil fuel use and Israel in its conflict with the Palestinians. Its main focus, however, is on Israel.

“We believe that bringing a topic as polarized and politically driven as this into the realm of Student Government serves only to divide the Student Body and disparage students with opposing viewpoints, instead of uniting our students,” Rodriguez and Malanga said in a memo announcing the veto. “It is not the role of Student Government to interject into international politics nor investment policies.”

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The veto can be overridden by a two-thirds vote of student senators in favor of the resolution.

The resolution would also have to pass votes by the Faculty Senate and the USF Staff Senate before being forwarded to the university’s board of trustees.

In a statement, the university said the USF Foundation board would not be considering the request again, The Oracle reported. A similar resolution presented by the university’s Students for Justice in Palestine to the foundation board as a petition with over 10,000 signatures was rejected two years ago.

The university has approximately 1,000 undergraduates in a student population of 31,000, according to the campus Jewish group Hillel.

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