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Anti-Semitism: Campus Divestment Resolutions in the USA

(2005-2021)

The first BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) 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.

Results of Campus BDS Resolutions 2013-2021
Results of Campus BDS Resolutions 2005-2013
Notes
Cumulative Results

In the last 16 years (2005-2021):

  • A total of 147 BDS measures have been considered – 96 were defeated (65%) including those vetoed by student government presidents or repealed.
  • Those votes were limited to a total of 73 schools, less than 2% of America’s 4,298 four-year colleges. (The California Community College Association is counted as one college and the UC Student Association, which has no power and represents no individual schools is excluded as were four graduate student programs).
  • A total of 44 schools have approved a BDS resolution in the last 16 years, which represents about 1% of universities (excludes those vetoed).*
  • A total of 56 schools have rejected BDS (there is some overlap as some of these have adopted BDS in other years) .
  • A total of 32 schools had two or more votes; 12 schools had three or more, and 8 schools had four (Michigan, Michigan Dearborn, UC Riverside, UCSD, UCSB, Ohio State, UIUC). Schools holding the most votes - 7 (UCSB [defeated every time], Michigan, Michigan-Dearborn, UC Davis).
  • Only 6 schools (Michigan Dearborn, Northwestern, UC San Diego, UC Irvine,  UC Riverside, and UC Davis) have passed BDS more than once.
  • Of the 73 schools that voted on BDS, 11 were ranked in the top 20 and 11 of 17 (65%) resolutions were defeated.
  • A total of 22 schools in the top 50 entertained BDS initiatives and 37 of 58 were defeated (64%).
  • In 2019, Brown became the first Ivy League school to pass a divestment resolution.

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, more than 98% percent of American campuses have had no divestment votes and have little or no BDS activity.

Results of Campus BDS Resolutions 2013-2021

School
2020-21
2019-20
2018-19
2017-18
2016-17
2015-16
2014-15
2013-14
Arizona State University
FAILED40
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
Barnard
 
 
 
PASSED28
 
 
 
 
Bowdoin College
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
 
Brown University
 
 
PASSED28
 
 
 
 
 
California Community College Student Senate
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
 
Cal State Long Beach
 
 
 
 
PASSED
FAILED19
 
 
Case Western
 
 
FAILED
FAILED
 
 
 
 
Columbia
PASSED28
 
FAILED
 
FAILED
 
 
 
Cornell University
 
 
FAILED
 
 
 
 
FAILED
De Anza College
 
 
 
 
PASSED
 
 
 
DePaul University
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
PASSED2
Earlham College
 
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED
 
Florida Atlantic University (FAU)
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
 
Florida State University FAILED              
George Washington University
 
 
 
PASSED
FAILED
 
FAILED
 
Georgetown
 
 
 
 
FAILED21
 
 
 
Georgia State
 
 
FAILED31
 
 
 
 
 
Grand Valley State 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
 
 
Harvard University
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
 
Marquette University
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED3
 
Montclair State
 
 
 
 
FAILED
 
 
 
New York University
 
 
FAILED33
 
 
 
 
 
Northeastern University
 
 
 
FAILED
 
FAILED
FAILED
 
Northwestern University
PASSED
 
 
 
 
FAILED19
PASSED
 
Oberlin College24
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oglethorpe University             PASSED  
Pitzer College
 
 
 
 
FAILED22  / 23
 
 
 
Pomona College PASSED              
Portland State
 
 
 
 
PASSED
FAILED20
 
 
Princeton University (Undergrad)
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
 
Rutgers University - Newark
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED
FAILED
 
San Diego State
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
FAILED
San Francisco State
PASSED
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
San Jose State
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED
 
 
Santa Clara University PASSED              
Scripps College
 
 
 
 
FAILED
 
 
 
Stanford University
 
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED4
 
Swarthmore
 
 
PASSED34
 
 
 
 
 
The Ohio State University
 
 
FAILED
FAILED26
FAILED
FAILED
FAILED
 
Tufts
 
 
 
 
FAILED22  / 23
 
 
 
University of California, Berkeley
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED5
University of California, Davis
PASSED
FAILED36
 
 
 
 
FAILED6
FAILED
University of California, Irvine
PASSED
 
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED
FAILED
University of California, Merced
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED
FAILED
 
University of California, Riverside
 
 
 
FAILED25
PASSED
 
FAILED
PASSED7
University of California, Santa Barbara
FAILED
 
FAILED
FAILED29
FAILED
 
FAILED
FAILED
University of California, San Diego
FAILED
FAILED38
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED
University of California, Santa Cruz
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED12
 
FAILED
University of Chicago
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED
 
 
University of Houston FAILED40              
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
PASSED
FAILED36
 
FAILED28
FAILED
 
 
 
University of Illinois at Chicago
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED19
 
 
University of Indianapolis
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED15
 
 
Loyola University, Chicago
 
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED
FAILED9
University of Maryland
 
 
FAILED
 
 
 
 
University of Massachussetts, Amherst
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
 
 
University of Michigan
 
 
 
PASSED
FAILED
 
FAILED
FAILED
University of Michigan Dearborn
 
 
 
 
PASSED
FAILED16
 
PASSED
University of Michigan Flint
 
 
 
PASSED
 
 
 
 
University of Minnesota
 
 
 
PASSED28
 
FAILED17
 
 
University of New Mexico
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
FAILED
University of Oregon
 
 
 
FAILED32
 
 
 
 
University of South Florida
 
 
 
FAILED27
 
FAILED14
 
 
University of Texas, Austin
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
 
University of Washington
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
University of Toledo #3
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED
 
University of Wisconsin-Madison 
 
 
 
 
PASSED15
 
 
 
Vassar
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED13
 
 
Wesleyan University
 
 
 
 
FAILED
 
FAILED
PASSED

 

Results of Campus BDS Resolutions 2005-2013

School
2012-13
2011-12
2010-11
2009-10
2008-9
2007-8
2006-7
2005-6
Arizona State
 
FAILED
 
 
 
 
 
 
Brown University
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED1
Evergreen State College
 
PASSED
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oberlin College24
PASSED
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Stanford University
FAILED
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
University of California, Berkeley
FAILED
 
 
FAILED30
 
 
 
 
University of California, Davis
PASSED
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
University of California, Irvine
FAILED37
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
University of California, Riverside
FAILED8
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
University of California, Santa Barbara
FAILED
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
University of California, San Diego
PASSED
FAILED
FAILED
 
 
 
 
 
University of California, Santa Cruz
FAILED
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
University of Massachussetts, Amherst
 
 
 
 
FAILED10
 
 
 
University of Massachussetts, Boston
 
PASSED
 
 
 
 
 
 
University of Michigan
 
FAILED
 
 
 
 
 
FAILED11 
University of Michigan Dearborn
 
 
PASSED
 
 
 
PASSED
PASSED
University of South Florida
FAILED
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
University of Wisconsin, Plattesville
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PASSED

Notes

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 passed again. Ruled unconstitutional in 2019.

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.

17Defeated 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.

20Tabled.

21Investment Committee rejected divestment; it was not a student govt resolution.

22Vote on Eve of Passover at Tufts on Passover at Pitzer when Jewish students were gone.

23Administration rescinded.

24Trustees announced they would not divest from Israel in 2015 http://oberlinreview.org/9008/news/board-rejects-student-divestment-proposals/.

25Failed to reach support needed to bring to the floor.

26Resolution passed after anti-Israel boycott language was removed.

27Resolution passed with a number of anti-Israel clauses, but after the call for boycotting Israel was removed.

28Referendum.

29Vote cancelled.

30Passed, then vetoed and veto was sustained.

31Not considered because of possible violation of state anti-boycott law.

32In 2019, the resolutions was deemed unconstitutional.

33Student govt passed resolution but stripped out mention of Israel before final vote.

34Student govt rejected divestment and later passed it.

35Failed despite vote being held during Passover over objections of Jewish students.

36Passed then vetoed by student govt president.

37Repealed by student senate in 2020.

38BDS removed from resolution calling for defunding university police.

39In 2021, UCLA passed a broad divestment resolution that was directed at a variety of targets and referred to the 2014 UCLA BDS vote and speciously accused Israel of “Ethnic cleansing.” It is not included here.

40Resolution withdrawn.

Cumulative Results

 
BDS Wins
BDS Losses
Total Votes
% BDS Lost
2020-21 9 5 14 36%
2019-20 0 3 3 100%
2018-19 2 8 10 80%
2017-18 5 9 14 64%
2016-17 6 12 18 67%
2015-16* 7 11 18 61%
2014-15 6 21 27 78%
2013-14 7 12 19 63%
2012-13 3 7 10 60%
2011-12 2 3 5 60%
2010-11 1 1 2 50%
2009-10 0 1 1 100%
2008-9 0 1 1 100%
2007-8 0 0 0 100%
2006-7 1 0 1 0%
2005-6 2 2 4 50%
         
Total 51 96 147 65%
% 35% 65%    
*Doesn't count 3 watered down resolutions that passed

Other Notes:

The list does not include all resolutions that did not come to a vote; for example, in cases where BDS resolutions were withdrawn or removed.

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.

#*In 2015-16, four graduate programs voted on divestment: the NYU Graduate Union voted no; graduate students at CUNY, Amherst and the U of Washington voted yes. NYU vote was later reversed by UAW.


Sources: AICE and news sources.