University of Oregon President Michael Schill wrote in a statement Thursday that the boycott, divest and sanctions resolution passed by the ASUO Senate during last night’s senate meeting is divisive and inconsistent with UO’s value of inclusion.
In the statement, Schill describes the importance of not dividing the UO community “along the lines of ideology, religion or national origin.” He added that the BDS movement not only criticizes the policies of the Israeli government but also questions the right of Israel to exist.
President Schill’s statement can be found here.
Advocates of the BDS movement, and of the movement itself, say it is an anti-racist human rights movement.
Some meeting attendees pushed back on the idea of the resolution not being in accordance with ASUO’s values during last night’s meeting after the topic was brought up by some senators and meeting attendees.
Cressa Perloff, a member of the student group Students United for Palestinian Equal Rights — the group that introduced the resolution to the senate last Wednesday with ASUO President Amy Schenk and External Vice President Vickie Gimm — said the university doesn’t do enough to create an inclusive environment for people of color.
Perloff added that the resolution was endorsed by a diverse array of student groups and that ASUO voted in accordance with their hopes. The resolution was endorsed by 30 student groups.
During last night’s meeting, ASUO Senator Shea Northfield questioned whether or not the resolution was in accordance with ASUO’s mission of inclusion, since the resolution promotes BDS, which in turn promotes a “cultural boycott” of events, agreements and projects involving Israel, its lobby groups or its cultural institutions, according to the BDS Movement website.
ASUO’s mission statement reads: “The ASUO strives to provide for the social, cultural, educational and physical development of its members and for the advancement of their individual and collective interests both within the University and the community at large.”
Presidents of other universities also made announcements for or against the decision when their respective student governments made a decision to endorse BDS, including the president of Portland State University in 2016.