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Anti-Semitism: Campus Divestment Resolutions in the USA


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 2013-2019
Results of Campus BDS Resolutions 2005-2013
Cumulative Results

In the last 14 years (2005-2019):

  • A total of 130 BDS measures have been considered – 87 were defeated (66%).
  • Those votes were limited to a total of 68 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 38 schools have approved a BDS resolution in the last 14 years, which represents about 1% of universities.*
  • A total of 54 schools have rejected BDS (there is some overlap as some of these have adopted BDS in other years) .
  • A total of 29 schools had two or more votes; 9 schools had three or more (Ohio State, Berkeley, Davis, Riverside, UCSB, UCSD, UCSC, Michigan, Dearborn), and 6 schools had four (Michigan, Michigan Dearborn, UC Riverside, UCSD, UCSB, Ohio State). Most votes - 6 (UCSB [defeated every time], Michigan, Michigan-Dearborn).
  • Only 5 schools (Michigan Dearborn, UC San Diego, UC Irvine,  UC Riverside, and UC Davis) have passed BDS more than once.
  • Of the 68 schools that voted on BDS, 11 were ranked in the top 20 and 11 of 15 (73%) resolutions were defeated.
  • A total of 22 schools in the top 50 entertained BDS initiatives and 32 of 48 were defeated (67%). 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, 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 2018-19 2017-18 2016-17 2015-16 2014-15 2013-14
Arizona State University           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 FAILED   FAILED      
Cornell University FAILED         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      
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       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  
Swarthmore PASSED34          
Tufts     FAILED22  / 23      
University of California, Berkeley           PASSED5
University of California, Davis         FAILED6 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 FAILED 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 FAILED35 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   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      
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                
Case Western   FAILED            
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. 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.

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.

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.


Cumulative Results

BDS Wins
BDS Losses
Total Votes
% BDS Lost
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 4 6 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 43 87 130  
% 33% 67%    
*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.

Sources: AICE and news sources.