In an Instagram post released on Thursday, Claremont Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) announced that Pomona College’s student government, the Associated Students of Pomona College (ASPC) “unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday, April 22, 2021 divesting all ASPC funds from companies complicit in the occupation of Palestine, and banning future use of funds towards such companies.” The companies from which ASPC will divest are drawn from a list compiled by the United Nations and include such popular companies as Airbnb and TripAdvisor. Student clubs that fail to divest from the listed companies will face the loss of ASPC funding.
ASPC will join Pitzer Student Senate as the second student government of the Claremont Consortium to enact an Israeli boycott.
ASPC’s vote to divest came in response to a bill submitted last week by SJP and Claremont Jewish Voice for Peace demanding that the student government “change its internal spending habits (i.e. ASPC’s investments portfolio, owned business entities such as the Coop Store and Coop Fountain, senator budgets, and PEC spending) by stopping aforementioned categorical spending on items that knowingly support the Israeli occupation of Palestine or contributes to any companies on the aforementioned United Nations list.”
The bill also included clauses compelling ASPC to call upon “the other Claremont Colleges Student Government Associations to follow suit, with the end goal of an ultimate adoption of a Consortium-wide agreement to ban clubs from using student government allocations to invest in or purchase goods or services from companies that contribute to the settlement and occupation of Palestinian occupied territories by the UN-designated companies or the Israeli state. Clubs that fail to divest and/or refrain from such uses of funding would face the loss of all Claremont Colleges Student Government Association funds.” ASPC-managed stores like the Coop Store and Coop Fountain will also be prohibited from using and selling products from the boycotted companies.
According to ASPC’s meeting minutes from April 15, clubs that use listed companies like Airbnb will require “a policy change.”
In their bill, SJP and Claremont Jewish Voice for Peace also demanded that ASPC “work in tandem with members of SJP, and other pertinent parties, to perform an annual check on the ASPC’s businesses to ensure all goods sold adhere to the guidelines outlined in this resolution; if said goods fail to adhere to these guidelines, alternatives must be proposed and voted on by the ASPC Senate as soon as possible.”
In an official statement, SJP stated that this “resolution is by no means the end of the Pomona College and Claremont Consortium community’s responsibility to push for total divestment from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Adopting this amendment is an important first step in reducing our complicity with a country that maintains an illegal military occupation and regularly commits crimes against humanity against the indigenous Palestinian population. As students at Pomona College and the Claremont Colleges, we recognize that our tuition dollars are being used to support companies which directly profit from the ongoing dispossession and oppression of Palestinians.”