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Divinity School Student Government Calls On Harvard to Divest from ‘Illegal Occupation of Palestine’

The Harvard Divinity School Student Association voted Friday morning to call on Harvard to divest from entites it views as complicit in volations of human rights against Palestinians.
The Harvard Divinity School Student Association voted Friday morning to call on Harvard to divest from entites it views as complicit in volations of human rights against Palestinians. By Hayoung Hwang
By Tilly R. Robinson, Crimson Staff Writer

The Harvard Divinity School Student Association passed a resolution Friday morning calling on the University to divest from entities involved in “violations of international law and human rights against Palestinians.”

The resolution passed with a two-thirds majority following an 8 a.m. vote. The vote came exactly one week after the Harvard Law School Student Government passed a similar resolution that drew plaudits from pro-Palestine activists but led two HLS Student Government members to resign.

The HDSSA resolution urges the Harvard Management Company — which oversees Harvard’s $50.7 billion endowment — to divest from “weapons manufacturers, firms, academic programs, corporations, and all other institutions that aid the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestine and the genocide of Palestinians.”

The International Court of Justice is considering a case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of genocide in Gaza, but the court will likely not rule on the case for years. To date, more than 30,000 people have died in Gaza, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between civilians and combatants.

Israel has forcefully denied the charges of genocide, saying that their military actions are targeting Hamas and that they take steps to minimize civilian casualties. Still, they have been under increasing international pressure — including from the United States, one of Israel’s closest allies — to better protect civilians, especially after seven World Central Kitchen aid workers were killed in an airstrike on Monday.

In response to a request for comment, University spokesperson Jason A. Newton cited the statement issued in response to the HLS Student Government’s divestment motion.

“Harvard leadership has made clear that it opposes calls for a policy of boycotting Israel and its academic institutions,” he wrote at the time.

After the HDSSA’s Friday vote, a copy of the resolution was emailed to Harvard Divinity School administrators, students, faculty, and staff.

The two student government resolutions from HDSSA and the HLS Student Government indicate a new wave of momentum behind student activists’ calls for Harvard to divest from companies and institutions they say are complicit in the illegal occupation of Palestine — calls that stretch back decades but have been repeatedly rebuked by University administrators.

It’s not clear whether any other student governments are poised to demand divestment. The Harvard Graduate Council — which represents students from all twelve of Harvard’s graduate schools — has not discussed divestment at any of its general council meetings this semester.

Meanwhile, divestment activists at Harvard have faced both harsh criticism and harassment. After the HLS Student Government passed its divestment resolution, members faced doxxing attacks, including a billboard truck that drove around Harvard Square displaying the names of the group’s co-presidents Tuesday.

Three pro-Palestine campus organizations — the Harvard College Palestine Solidarity Committee, Harvard Graduate Students 4 Palestine, and Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine — praised the HDSSA resolution in an Instagram post Friday, which was also shared by Rutgers professor and activist Noura Erakat and the national organizations Students for Justice in Palestine and Law Students for a Free Palestine.

“Harvard Management Company, you are on notice,” the post read.

—Staff writer Tilly R. Robinson can be reached at Follow her on X @tillyrobin.

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