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Message of Concern Regarding ASPC Vote

Dear Pomona College Community,

This morning, we learned that the Associated Students of Pomona College leadership voted to stop “categorical spending on items that knowingly support the Israeli occupation of Palestine or contributes to any companies on the aforementioned United Nations list.”

The vote also endorsed the ultimate -- but not yet enacted -- goal “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 U.N.-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.”

This vote was held without representation from any student opposition. The independence of student government in passing its resolutions is important, but so is the representation of the student body as a whole and given the lack of debate and the passions this vote may stir, we want to convey our deep concern. 

Acknowledging the extraordinary strain in which we are living, the ways in which the politics of the Middle East are so deeply connected to religious identities and that this vote came at a time when students are away from campus amid a global pandemic, we urge ASPC to discuss this in greater depth, allowing for opposing voices to make their cases, so that our student governance can be inclusive and representative of all members of the community. We believe this vote works against the dialogue that is critical for constructive engagement of diverse voices on our campus.

The resolution’s stated goal of eventually enacting requirements that all student clubs supported by ASPC—not just ASPC itself—comply with its divestment stance or lose funding is also of deep concern, as it would require all students, regardless of their views, to participate in a boycott. We urge ASPC to reverse course and allow for full discussion, and we welcome an open dialogue on this matter.

 

Sincerely,

G. Gabrielle Starr, president
Seth Allen, vice president for strategy & dean of admissions and financial aid
Christina Ciambriello, chief of staff and secretary to the Board of Trustees
Robert Gaines, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college
Robert Goldberg, vice president, COO and treasurer
Avis Hinkson, vice president for student affairs and dean of students
Mark Kendall, assistant vice president for communications & strategic content
Janet Russell, interim vice president and chief information officer
Maria Watson, vice president for advancement