University of Illinois, Ohio State reject divestment measures

Ben Harris

(JTA) — Students at the University of Illinois and Ohio State University voted down measures urging their schools to divest from companies complicit in Palestinian human rights violations.

The Illinois referendum was rejected late last week by a margin of 56.8 to 43.2 percent, according to media reports. The Ohio State measure failed by a vote of 4,084 to 3,843.

The Illinois referendum called for divestment from more than a dozen companies allegedly complicit in Palestinian human rights violations, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett-Packard and General Electric. The Ohio State measure named five companies.

In a statement Sunday, the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago welcomed the referendum’s failure, which it credited to a student group, United Illini for a United Campus, that campaigned against the measure.

“Students made their voices heard and said together that divisiveness and anti-Israel bias have no home at their university,” the statement said. “Our Illini Hillel will not deviate from the core mission of enriching the lives of Jewish students so that they may enrich the Jewish people and the world.”

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