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Israel divestment demand killed by Michigan State faculty senate

‘We fear [the resolution] will make Jews at MSU feel isolated, excluded and hated within campus culture,’ professor says

The Michigan State University Faculty Senate voted down an Israel divestment resolution on Tuesday.

The resolution demanded divestment from “from all financial holdings that support and profit from Israel’s military campaign and plausible acts of genocide in the Gaza Strip.”

“Thirty-three voted no and 16 voted yes to the resolution,” The State News reported.

Some faculty want to “create a subcommittee” to study the university’s investments, according to the campus newspaper.

“We fear (the resolution) will make Jews at MSU feel isolated, excluded and hated within campus culture,” Jewish Studies Professor Kirsten Fermaglich said, according to the student newspaper.

Political scientist Jennifer Goett supported the resolution. She said her husband has lost family in the conflict.

“My family’s horror and trauma over this genocide are only amplified knowing that MSU, that our employer, has assets invested in entities that support and profit from the killing of Waseem’s relatives,” Goett said during the meeting.

“U.S. weapons manufacturers, U.S. bombs, our taxpayer dollars and our university’s investments are being used for genocide,” she said, as reported by the student newspaper. “It’s time we say no, colleagues. Please vote for this resolution.”

“Let’s stand on the right side of history,” she said.

Other entities on campus have demanded divestment, the student newspaper reported.

“The decision is a marked departure from continued calls for divestment by student government groups and activists,” State News reported. Both MSU’s undergraduate student government [the Associated Students of Michigan State University] and the Council of Graduate Students passed resolutions advocating for divestment earlier this month.”

The university is conducting a “normal” review of its investments, as previously reported by The College Fix.

Divestment activists disrupted (pictured, left) a board meeting and declared the decision a victory.

But MSU downplayed the significance of it.

“MSU has established a policy that provides a framework for active, professional investment management, with annual reporting of portfolio holdings,” a spokesman told The Fix, commenting on the Feb. 2 board decision.

“This is a normal course of business and was already in discussion as periodic review is appropriate and healthy,” Mark Bullion told The Fix.

Political divestment would be “chaotic,” the university’s assistant vice president of financial management previously told the student newspaper.

MSU typically does “not selectively alter portfolios of investment managers,” Jeff Rayis said.

“As of June, MSU has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and other companies tied to the defense industry and $236,114 in a U.S. Treasury bond supporting Israel, financial records show,” The Fix previously reported.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.