On Friday, USF students voted in favor of adhering to the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. that Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
However, when students were asked if they would support divestment from corporations that promote apartheid in Israel by giving financial aid to the Israeli military, the University struck down the bill for being too political.
Ten minutes before the results of the election were to be announced, students received an email stating that the referendum would not be recorded as an official SGA referendum and would not be adopted, causing much confusion.
To get this referendum on the ballot, Students for Justice in Palestine, the organization proposing this bill, had to receive 1,540 signatures. SJP received well over that number therefore a lack of support cannot be used as an excuse for taking down the referendum.
Another complaint about the referendum is its political nature. In the email sent to students on Friday, it was stated Student Government hasnt, and wont, take a stance on international politics that is well beyond our means.
However, student body President Brian Goff himself sent a letter to the Hillel Center in November stating that as Student Body President he would commit himself to supporting US-Israeli relations and Israels right to self-defense. Therefore, Goff as President of Student Body has taken clear stances in the past.
Furthermore, the bill is clearly not political, and instead attempts to distance the university from international politics by divesting from corporations that are potentially linked to human-rights violations as defined by the United Nations.
The referendum is not an attack on any country or nationality, but instead attempts to save thousands from the very fate that King and many others had struggled against for years.
If the University claims to take full responsibility for the confusion caused by adding and removing the bill so suddenly, then it should attempt to amend this confusion by allowing students more time to learn about and debate the referendum.
The actions of the University regarding this issue are unconstitutional and disregard the opinions of the thousands of students who voted in favor of divestment from these corporations. The students should be able to decide where the money from their tuition goes and whether issues like this are political or not. Such obvious heedlessness to the opinions of students could tarnish the Universitys reputation and history.
Dana Tarabishy is a freshman majoring in biomedical sciences.