Members of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality will not be present at Thursday’s University Board of Regents meeting. SAFE members initially expressed interest in taking their case to the regents after Central Student Government voted against a resolution in support of divestment from companies allegedly involved in human rights violations in Palestine.
LSA junior Tala Dahbour, SAFE co-chair, said the group has not made a formal decision to approach the board. She said any possible action would take place in the fall at the earliest.
Dahbour added that though the organization is not currently approaching the board, they are continuing their activism throughout the summer.
“Right now our focus is in bringing about awareness,” she said. “Divestment is still a very big priority for us and it’s not something that we’ve forgotten about.”
To be on the agenda of the regents meeting, the proposal would have to indicate widespread community concern. The regents would set up a committee to investigate University investments if the proposal passed.
Only two divestment resolutions have been approved in the history of the University — one in 1983 regarding investments in apartheid-era South Africa and the other in 2000 recommending divestment from tobacco companies.
University Provost Martha Pollack said any consideration of divestment would be the regents’ decision, but emphasized that such resolutions require extensive deliberation.
“The bar for divestment is intentionally set very high,” she said.
E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, echoed Pollack’s views on the slim chance that a divestment resolution would pass if brought before the regents.
“The board will decide whether or not it’s going to divest, and right now, it’s made a decision that it’s not,” she said.
Harper added that students are still encouraged to speak out and challenge the University if they feel strongly about something.
“Anything that students are passionate about, anything they believe in, they ought to be activists about it and using their voice and political action to persuade the Board to do something different,” Harper said.
However, Harper said she encourages students to seek other options to approach the conflict in the Middle East. She said divestment is just one way to potentially achieve this end, and students should consider various views.
“The real issue is what we’re not talking about. We are actually spending all of our time on a tool,” she said. “So we end up at an impasse when there are lots more tools.”
Harper said the University’s students are the leaders of the future who have the power to work collaboratively and solve the world’s most pressing challenges.
“I know that they’re in our University community, somebody that can imagine a very different world, where everybody is safe and protected,” Harper said. “That’s what I’m waiting on.”
—Daily News Editor Sam Gringlas contributed to this report.