Statement of the ASUO President regarding the BDS Resolution
Jun 4, 2018 by ASUO Clerk
The ASUO Senate 2017-2018 recently approved a resolution in which they endorsed the boycott, divest, sanction (BDS) movement against Israeli companies that are complicit in the colonization of Palestine. This resolution would boycott products like Sabra Hummus among others that fall under ASUO funds. This resolution is non-binding and is more symbolic than anything, in the sense that we technically cannot enforce bans and that it would be up to students and student groups’ decision on whether they decide to boycott these companies. To avoid misinformation on what the resolution encourages, you can read the actual resolution here on page 2 of the document:
There is some criticism that the ASUO legislative body should not be able to take a stance on this divisive political issue. There has also been concern from President Schill that ASUO's decision with this resolution contradicts with the values that ASUO upholds. I would like to mention that ASUO is a separate body from the President’s office, and our senators are extremely qualified and capable. I would also like to highlight that this resolution was brought to light by student groups who asked Senate to take a stand with Palestinian human rights. There are critiques that the Senate body moving with this resolution is divisive, so to that, I wish to re-examine why it is okay to have tough conversations around divisive issues such as this one. To ignore these difficult conversations and to ignore our differences is a veil of deception that suppresses student voices. Just because the issue is divisive does not mean the conversation ends. We can take this time to listen to one another and grow together a more prosperous community.
It is no secret I was one of the Senators that got to vote on this resolution, and what stuck with me the most is that our UO community turned out in a way that it hasn’t before this year. Over 200 students showed up to a Senate meeting to engage in activism, and something amazing happened. Marginalized students who don’t usually get handed a mic to talk about their experiences with racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, and war, got to voice their stories for all of us to hear, and that is powerful.
I believe that we can stand with Palestinian students and stand up against anti-semitism at the same time. My executive team and I are working with student groups from both sides of the resolution to see how ASUO can make this a safer community for everyone. We attended the BDS discussion, and we are pleased to see how our community engaged in challenging conversations both respectfully and tactfully. We will be facilitating more meetings with students so that we can work together to combat the long-standing history of anti-semitism on this campus and fight the existing racism and xenophobia that has been brought to the surface recently. We have also offered President Schill to participate in these upcoming conversations with students. It should be known that I do not tolerate any form of hate speech and that my administration does not stand for any racist, xenophobic, or anti-semitic remarks. My team and I will always serve and protect those most marginalized, and we are humbled to get to work with students to create a more inclusive environment where we not only try to survive but also thrive.
Maria A. Gallegos-Chacon