[The following press release was issued by the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor chapter of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality on 27 March 2014.]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Greetings from Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor! This past week has been nothing short of inspirational. Hundreds of Palestinian students, SAFE activists, and allies from dozens of student organizations persevered through a weeklong sitin, which transformed the Central Student Government (CSG) chambers into the “Edward Said Lounge.” The sit in action in the Michigan Union captivated the University’s attention, and reminded campus of the time when a coalition of students of color took over the Michigan Union secret society tower space in 2000.
While the CSG’s vote against Assembly Resolution AR 3050 was lopsided against our resolution, the result was no surprise. Many CSG members actually campaigned on antidivestment platforms. However, for the last week, the entire campus has been talking about Palestine and divestment from corporations involved in human rights violations. Students forged new relationships and strengthened old ones with communities of color and progressive student organizations. The Michigan Daily’s resounding endorsement of our resolution confirms Tuesday night’s moral victory and ratifies the strength of our arguments.
Make no mistake. While our resolution did not pass, we galvanized student support across campus while exposing the hollow, hurtful, and erroneous nature of selfidentifying Zionist discourse on a massive stage. More than 23,000 viewers witnessed the dramatic proceedings via an online live stream and video recording. That was the ultimate victory.
In the end, we generated what amounted to a campuswide, weeklong referendum on divestment and its role in realizing Palestinian selfdetermination. The allnight meetings with administrators and sit in actionwere exhausting. We were stretched to our emotional and physical limits, but we never wavered. Individual students continue to stand strong in the face of baseless smears leveled against them by those who insist that Palestinians do not deserve selfdetermination and human rights.
The current CSG, which is more concerned with personal ambition than ethical investment, should know that we will not rest until we realize justice. This is a victory for the protracted struggle at the University of Michigan to contribute to the liberation of a people living under a regime that continues to violate their basic human rights. We extend our deepest gratitude to our supporters and allies from all corners of the University, and from campuses and organizations across the United States.
Until Palestine is free,
Students Allied for Freedom and Equality