(January 19, 2021 / JNS) Florida State University’s student senate is scheduled to vote on a resolution on Wednesday that calls on the university to divest from companies that do business in Israel.
The BDS resolution calls on “FSU trustees to review their investments and to divest from companies that violate international humanitarian law,” calling out Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and the U.K.-based multinational security services company G4S as examples.
FSU spokesperson Dennis Schnittker told JNS on Tuesday that while the university “supports freedom of expression, it does not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”
He said the student government “does not have oversight authority over the university or the FSU Foundation,” whose board of trustees “has a fiduciary responsibility to manage its endowment consistent with the university’s mission and independent of any outside influence. The foundation meets that obligation by investing endowment resources diversely with private fund managers, and not directly with companies.”
Schnittker also noted that were the resolution to pass, “it would be advisory and non-binding on the foundation.”
Over the past year, the university has experienced both positive and negative developments surrounding anti-Semitism.
In June 2020, the student senate voted against removing its president despite his anti-Semitic posts.
The following month, the university’s Student Government Association passed a resolution to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism—a passage that wasn’t without controversy.
The next month, the university adopted the IHRA definition, which has examples of how certain criticisms of Israel can be anti-Semitic. One example is “applying double standards by requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation,” a criticism of the BDS movement.
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