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Anti-Semitism: Campus Divestment Resolutions in the USA


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.

Results of Campus BDS Resolutions 2013-2018
Results of Campus BDS Resolutions 2005-2013
Cumulative Results

In the last 13 years (2005-2018):

  • A total of 119 votes have been taken on BDS measures – 76 were defeated (64%).
  • Those votes were limited to a total of 64 schools, less than 3% of America’s 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).
  • Only 36 schools have approved a BDS resolution in the last 13 years, which represents about 1% of universities.*
  • A total of 49 schools have rejected BDS (there is some overlap as some of these have adopted BDS in other years) .
  • A total of 28 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 64 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 26 of 41 were defeated (63%).

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 2013-2018

School 2017-18 2016-17 2015-16 2014-15 2013-14
Arizona State University         FAILED
Barnard PASSED28        
Bowdoin College       FAILED  
Brown University          
California Community College Student Senate       FAILED  
Cal State Long Beach   PASSED FAILED19    
Columbia   FAILED      
Cornell University         FAILED
De Anza College   PASSED      
DePaul University       FAILED PASSED2
Earlham College       PASSED  
Evergreen State College          
Florida Atlantic University (FAU)       FAILED  
George Washington University PASSED FAILED   FAILED  
Georgetown   FAILED21      
Grand Valley State      FAILED    
Harvard University       FAILED  
Marquette University       FAILED3  
Montclair State   FAILED      
Northeastern University FAILED   FAILED FAILED  
Northwestern University     FAILED19 PASSED  
Oberlin College24          
Pitzer College   FAILED22/23      
Oglethorpe University       PASSED  
Portland State   PASSED FAILED20    
Princeton University (Undergrad)       FAILED  
Rutgers University -Newark     PASSED FAILED  
San Diego State University       FAILED FAILED
San Jose State     PASSED    
Scripps College   FAILED      
Stanford University       PASSED4  
The Ohio State University FAILED26 FAILED FAILED FAILED  
Tufts   FAILED22/23      
University of California, Berkeley         PASSED5
University of California, Davis       PASSED6 FAILED
University of California, Irvine         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 FAILED29 FAILED   FAILED FAILED
University of California, San Diego         PASSED
University of California, Santa Cruz     PASSED12   FAILED
University of Chicago     PASSED    
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign FAILED28 FAILED      
University of Illinois at Chicago     FAILED19    
University of Indianapols     PASSED15    
Loyola University, Chicago       PASSED FAILED9
University of Maryland FAILED        
University of Massachussetts, Amherst     FAILED    
University of Massachussetts, Boston          
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 PASSED        
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      
University of Wisconsin, Plattesville          
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            
Bowdoin College                
Brown University               FAILED1
California Community College Student Senate                
Cal State Long Beach                
Cornell University                
De Anza College                
DePaul University                
Earlham College                
Evergreen State College   PASSED          
Florida Atlantic University (FAU)                
George Washington University                
Grand Valley State                 
Harvard University                
Marquette University                
Montclair State                
New York University Graduate Union                
Northeastern University                
Northwestern University                
Oberlin College24 PASSED              
Pitzer College                
Oglethorpe University                
Portland State                
Princeton University (Undergrad)                
Rutgers University -Newark                
San Diego State University                
San Jose State                
Scripps College                
Stanford University FAILED              
The Graduate Center, CUNY                
The Ohio State University                
University of California, Berkeley FAILED     FAILED30        
University of California, Davis PASSED              
University of California, Irvine PASSED              
University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)                
University of California, Merced                
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 Chicago                
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign                
University of Illinois at Chicago                
University of Indianapols                
Loyola University, Chicago                
University of Massachussetts, Amherst         FAILED10      
University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Graduate Employee Organization / UAW 2322)                
University of Massachussetts, Boston   PASSED            
University of Michigan   FAILED           FAILED11 
University of Michigan Dearborn     PASSED       PASSED PASSED
University of Minnesota                
University of New Mexico (Undergrad)                
University of South Florida FAILED              
University of Texas, Austin                
University of Washington                
University of Washington Grads                
University of Toledo #3                
University of Wisconsin-Madison                 
University of Wisconsin, Plattesville               PASSED
Wesleyan University                


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

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

23Administration rescinded

24Trustees announced they would not divest from Israel in 2015

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


29Vote cancelled

30Passed, then vetoed and veto was sustained

Cumulative Results

BDS Wins
BDS Losses
Total Votes
% BDS Wins
2017-18 6 7 13 46%
2016-17 6 12 18 33%
2015-16* 7 11 18 39%
2014-15 7 20 27 26%
2013-14 7 12 19 37%
2012-13 4 6 10 40%
2011-12 2 3 5 40%
2010-11 1 1 2 50%
2009-10 0 1 1 0%
2008-9 0 1 1 0%
2007-8 0 0 0 0%
2006-7 1 0 1 100%
2005-6 2 2 4 50%
Total 43 76 119  
% 36% 64%    
*Doesn't count 3 watered down resolutions that passed

Other Notes:

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.


Source: AICE