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Pomona Students Vote for Boycotts of Israel

Between February 19 and February 21, Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) conducted a referendum on divestment from companies linked to Israel, disclosure of college endowment details, and an academic boycott of Israeli universities. The initiative, led by Divest Claremont Colleges, received endorsements from 34 student organizations on campus. A total of 1,035 students (around 60% of the Pomona student body) cast their votes in the survey, the TSL reported. 


The students voted overwhelmingly in favor of divestment and disclosure, yielding the following results:

  • 91% supported disclosure of investments in weapons manufacturers, while 9% were against.

  • 85% voted for divestment from all weapons manufacturers, with 15% opposed.

  • 78% voted for an academic boycott of institutions related to the ‘apartheid system within Israel,’ with 22% dissenting.

  • 86% favored disclosure of investments in companies supporting ‘the apartheid system within Israel,’ with 14% opposed.

  • 82% voted for divestment from companies ‘aiding the apartheid system within Israel,’ with 18% against.

 

Pomona students were not deterred by President Gabrielle Starr's pleas against the referendum. In the days leading up to the vote, Starr sent a college-wide email sharing her concerns about the referendum’s impact on Jewish students at the school: “For many years now, the only nation on which ASPC has focused its activity is the world’s only Jewish state,” Starr wrote. “This singling out of Israel raises grave concerns about the referendum’s impact on members of our community. For this reason, and even though I know our students do not intend this, the referendum raises the specter of antisemitism.”


When some Pomona students in the dissenting minority wrote a TSL opinion criticizing the language in the referendum and the campaign methods used by its proponents, Instagram commenters promptly denounced them as “white men” and “Zionists.” 


Ultimately, the results of this referendum, like the recent Pitzer academic boycott vote, do not bind the college administration and are unlikely to take effect. 


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