The first BDS resolutions were proposed in student governments in 2005-6, of the four introduced, two passed and two were defeated. Only five other resolutions were proposed in the following five academic years combined and three of those were defeated. The campaign began to take off in 2012-13 with 10 resolutions (six were defeated), followed by 19 in 2013-14 (12 were defeated) and 27 in 2014-15 (20 were defeated). Since that upsurge, the movement has shown signs of petering out.
In the last 12 years (2005-2017):
- A total of 106 votes have been taken on BDS measures – 67 were defeated (63%).
- Those votes were limited to a total of 65 schools, less than 3% of America’s four-year colleges. (I count the California Community College Association as one college and exclude the UC Student Association which has no power and represents no individual schools).
- Only 32 schools have approved a BDS resolution in the last 12 years (30 if graduate students are excluded), which represents about 1% of universities.
- A total of 47 schools have rejected BDS (there is some overlap as some of these have adopted BDS in other years) .
- A total of 26 schools had two or more votes; 9 schools had three or more (Ohio State, Berkeley, Davis, Riverside, UCSB, UCSD, UCSC, Michigan, Dearborn), and 4 schools had four (Michigan, Michigan Dearborn, UC Riverside and UCSD)
- Only 5 schools (Michigan Dearborn, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, and UC Davis) have passed BDS more than once.
- Of the 65 schools that voted on BDS, 10 were ranked in the top 20 and 10 of 14 (71%) resolutions were defeated.
- A total of 19 schools in the top 50 entertained BDS initiatives and 23 of 37 were defeated (62%).
The movement has grown, but it is not sweeping the nation, and it definitely is not winning. Even the handful of divestment resolutions that were adopted by students have no authority and administrators have repeatedly made clear they have no intention of divesting from Israel. In fact, many of the same schools (e.g., UCI) dramatically increased cooperation with Israel after the votes. Overall, about 97% percent of American campuses have had no divestment votes and have little or no BDS activity.
Results of Campus BDS Resolutions 2005-2017
|Arizona State (Downtown campus)||FAILED||FAILED|
|Arizona State University||FAILED|
|California Community College Student Senate||FAILED|
|Cal State Long Beach||PASSED||FAILED19|
|De Anza College||PASSED|
|Evergreen State College||PASSED|
|Florida Atlantic University (FAU)||FAILED|
|George Washington University||FAILED||FAILED|
|Grand Valley State||FAILED|
|New York University Graduate Union||FAILED18|
|Princeton University (Undergrad)||FAILED|
|Rutgers University -Newark||PASSED||FAILED|
|San Diego State University||FAILED||FAILED|
|San Jose State||PASSED|
|The Graduate Center, CUNY||PASSED18||FAILED|
|The Ohio State University||FAILED||FAILED||FAILED|
|University of California, Berkeley||PASSED5||FAILED||FAILED|
|University of California, Davis||PASSED6||FAILED||PASSED|
|University of California, Irvine||PASSED||PASSED|
|University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)||PASSED||FAILED|
|University of California, Merced||PASSED||FAILED|
|University of California, Riverside||PASSED||FAILED||PASSED7||FAILED8|
|University of California, Santa Barbara||FAILED||FAILED||FAILED||FAILED|
|University of California, San Diego||PASSED||PASSED||FAILED||FAILED|
|University of California, Santa Cruz||PASSED12||FAILED||FAILED|
|University of Chicago||PASSED|
|University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign||FAILED|
|University of Illinois at Chicago||FAILED19|
|University of Indianapols||PASSED15|
|Loyola University, Chicago||PASSED||FAILED9|
|University of Massachussetts, Amherst||FAILED||FAILED10|
|University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Graduate Employee Organization / UAW 2322)||PASSED18|
|University of Massachussetts, Boston||PASSED|
|University of Michigan||FAILED||FAILED||FAILED||FAILED||FAILED11|
|University of Michigan Dearborn||PASSED||FAILED16||PASSED||PASSED||PASSED||PASSED|
|University of Minnesota||FAILED17|
|University of New Mexico (Undergrad)||FAILED||FAILED|
|University of South Florida||FAILED14||FAILED|
|University of Texas, Austin||FAILED|
|University of Washington||FAILED|
|University of Washington Grads||PASSED18|
|University of Toledo #3||FAILED|
|University of Wisconsin-Madison||PASSED15|
|University of Wisconsin, Plattesville||PASSED|
1 Brown 2006 - No vote, activist proposal to investment comm that failed
22014 Passed, vetoed, passed
3 2015 Marquette passed a divestment bill after removing references to Israel.
4 2015 failed then passed
5 2014 A section of the resolution was later found invalid
6 2015 passed then failed on technicality, then past again
7 2014 failed then passed
8 2013 passed then revoked
9 2014 passed then vetoed
10 Divestment was tabled but a comm was set up to divest from compnies more generally
11 Michigan Student Senate vote
12 Reversed veto of 2014 divestment resolution
13 Passed divestment rejected Hummas boycott
14 Won, was vetoed, won again but ruled unconstitutional
15 Defeated first time then passed
16 Dearborn has had most votes, 2016 first time defeated
17 Defeated twice
182015-2016 Did not count grad student votes supporting BDS at CUNY, Umass and NYU (which was reversed by UAW)
19Passed watered own version that wasn’t anti-Israel - counted as victories
21Investment Committee ejected divestment; it was not a student govt resolution
22Vote on Eve of Passover at Tufts on Passover at Pitzer when Jewish students were gone
24Trustees announced they would not divest from Israel in 2015 http://oberlinreview.org/9008/news/board-rejects-student-divestment-proposals/
|% BDS Wins by Year||33%||39%||30%||37%||40%||40%||33%||0%||100%||50%|
|*Doesn't count 3 watered down resolutions that passed|
In 2009, under pressure from anti-Israel activists, Hampshire college divested from a mutual fund with Israeli holdings but denied the decision was boycott related
In 2010, Berkeley passed a divestment resolution, which was vetoed by the student government president and that veto was sustained nullifying the resolution.
In 2010, DePaul and Princeton boycotted Sabra Hummus but that was reversed.
In 2015, Western Washington preemptively voted against all boycotts
In 2015, the UC Student Association (UCSA) passed a divestment resolution, but it is not counted as a campus.