PROVIDENCE, RI —The student coalition at Brown University, a prestigious Ivy League school with an enrollment of nearly 7,000 students, has passed a landmark divestment referendum.
The coalition, Brown Divest, garnered around 69 percent of the vote in favor of divestment, according to an article from the Brown Daily Herald.
The referendum asked whether the university should “divest all stocks, funds, endowment and other monetary instruments from companies complicit in human rights abuses in Palestine” and also “establish a means of implementing financial transparency and student oversight of the University’s investments.”
About 44 percent of the undergraduate student body voted in elections this year, the article said, which is the highest voter turnout in three years.
Brown Divest wrote the following letter on its website following the passage:
Dear Brown University Community,
It is with immense honor and excitement that we announce the successful passing of the Brown Divest referendum today on March 21st, 2019. The referendum passed with 69% of the vote, and the voter turnout today was one of the highest in the history of elections held by the Undergraduate Council of Students: 3,076 students voted. Today is a historic day for Brown as we take an emboldened and clear stand against the university’s complicity in human rights abuses in Palestine and in similar systems of oppression across the world.
Today, we join other universities such as Swarthmore, NYU, UCLA, George Washington University, and others who have had similar successful campaigns. We also become the first Ivy League university to pass a divestment referendum on Palestine and look forward to seeing others follow our lead.
This referendum not only represents a decisive stance on this issue, but a years-long mobilization and unification of a diverse coalition of student groups around this campus. This campaign would not have been possible if we had not united as a community.
The members of Brown Divest view this referendum neither as a beginning nor an end of our struggle for justice. We will continue this momentum and come together as a community to hold the administration accountable to the outcome of this referendum.
Until then and with love,
While the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement has gained traction on college campuses across the country, the recent national anti-BDS bill has put a damper on the growing movement. The bill passed the Senate and awaits a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.
A video on the Brown Divest campaign can be viewed below.