Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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ASG signs People’s Resolution, calls for NU to divest from Israeli institutions

Isaiah Steinberg/The Daily Northwestern
The Senate passed similar divestment resolutions in 2015 and 2021.

The Associated Student Government Senate passed a resolution Wednesday to add its signature to the Northwestern People’s Resolution, which calls for the University to protect the civil liberties of pro-Palestinian community members and divest from Israeli institutions.

With the passage of the emergency legislation, the resolution — sponsored by NU’s chapters of Educators for Justice in Palestine, Students for Justice in Palestine, and Jewish Voice for Peace — received the support of the liaison between the student body and the administration.

The ASG legislation passed 20-2 with nine abstentions in a roll call vote. Weinberg sophomore and Hillel Senator Talia Winiarsky and SESP freshman and College Democrats Senator Giavanna Chopra, who had a proxy vote in her place at the meeting, opposed the resolution.

ASG’s resolution was authored by SJP, JVP, and Medill freshman and Senator Taylor Hancock, a current Daily staffer. Weinberg freshman and Senator Jamal Omoniyi also co-wrote the legislation.

“I think it was something that was necessary, because in the past, we did push this with legislation,” Omoniyi said. “It was passed before and Northwestern did nothing about it.”

In 2015 and 2021, the Senate passed resolutions calling on NU to divest from Israeli institutions and companies that provided funding or weapons to Israel.

The People’s Resolution is very similar to these previous resolutions, but Omoniyi said the latest resolution has received more widespread attention and support.

ASG’s action comes as Israel’s military campaign in Gaza has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to Palestinian officials. Israel’s ground and air offensive follows the militant group Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel which killed about 1,200 Israelis, according to Israeli officials.

Following ASG’s decision, NU Hillel released a statement calling the People’s Resolution antisemitic and saying similar resolutions “demonize Israel, normalize harmful rhetoric and further divide the campus community.”

With 31 senators and dozens of non-senators in attendance, the meeting saw debate between supporters and opponents of the resolution. Medill sophomore and Wildcats for Israel President Madeleine Stern, along with Winiarsky, debated with Weinberg sophomore and Undergraduate Schools Caucus Whip Kaitlyn Salgado-Alvarez, as well as members of SJP and EJP.

When Stern said Hamas used hospitals as human shields, many in the room voiced their disagreement. Meanwhile, arguments in support of the resolution were punctuated with snaps of approval from senators and non-senators alike.

“I think there are a lot of Jewish students on campus who will tell you this is antisemitic, and the fact that it uses the terms ‘apartheid’ and ‘genocide’ is something that I disagree with,” Winiarsky, a former Daily staffer, said.

Winiarsky, who is half-Israeli, said she disagrees with the resolution’s assertion that Israel has occupied its territory for its entire 76-year existence. She added that she supports a ceasefire and a two-state solution but that she did not want the resolution to deny the existence of a Jewish state or to incite increased antisemitism on campus.

Winiarsky asked for the resolution to be voted on after Passover so she would have time to gather feedback from more Jewish voices before voting. Stern said she hoped to postpone the vote to propose amendments to the People’s Resolution. They were outvoted.

Students who spoke in favor of the resolution said they sympathized with the emotional distress antisemitism brings but emphasized the difference between Judaism, which they supported, and Zionism, which they opposed. Several also said they oppose the Israel Innovation Project, an NU initiative which facilitates partnerships with Israeli universities.

Weinberg sophomore and Speaker of the Senate Grace Houren said ASG needs to confront tough issues facing the student body. She added that she supports the outcome of any vote in the Senate because she is confident that it reflects the student body.

“I think the outcome of whatever the Senate decides is a pretty good show of the student opinion,” Houren said. “I think the University should use that as a tell of what their students are interested in the University doing or what the students are thinking.”

Correction: A previous version of the article misstated Madeleine Stern’s title and misrepresented Talia Winiarsky’s reason for opposing the People’s Resolution and her reason for proposing to postpone the vote until after Passover. The Daily regrets the errors.

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