UM regents oppose Israel sanctions

Associated Press

Ann Arbor — The University of Michigan’s Board of Regents won’t be forming a committee to consider divesting the university’s endowment from certain companies that have allegedly committed human rights violations against Palestinians.

Six of the eight regents signed a statement Thursday saying they oppose the action advocated by student leaders, the Ann Arbor News reported. Regents Shauna Ryder Diggs and Kathy White didn’t sign the statement.

“Our university has long been a community that seeks to study and improve the human condition through our research and scholarship,” the statement said. “We work together to better understand the most complex challenges we face on campus and beyond. We do this work through active engagement in the world around us. To boycott, divest or sanction Israel offends these bedrock values of our great university.”

The University of Michigan Student Government called for university leaders to take action following a proposal from the student organization Students Allied for Freedom and Equality. The proposal singles out three companies for alleged human rights violations.

Anushka Sarkar, the student government president, said she’s not surprised regents decided not to act. She said she hopes the spirit of the resolution will remain to spark further discussions down the road.

“I believe the authors and advocates of this resolution do not intend to target Jewish people, and I do not believe that criticism of Israel is inherently anti-Semitic,” Sarkar said. “I believe the University of Michigan should not invest in companies that endanger the lives of Palestinian people.”

University policy aims to shield the endowment from political pressures and base investment decisions solely on financial factors such as risk and return.

The school has previously divested resources from South Africa and the tobacco industry.