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April 15, 2015 6:25 pm

Stanford University Rejects Divestment Demand From Anti-Israel Students

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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The Stanford University Board of Trustees denied a request to divest from Israel. Photo: Twitter.

Stanford University turned down a demand from the local chapter of anti-Israel group Students for Justice in Palestine to divest its endowment holdings of certain companies that do business in Israel, the university said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Stanford’s Board of Trustees said it evaluated the request over the last several months but concluded that “the university’s mission and its responsibility to support and encourage diverse opinions would be compromised by endorsing an institutional position on either side of an issue as complex as the Israel-Palestine conflict,” according to the announcement.

Stanford’s Students for Justice in Palestine had called on the university to “divest its holdings in certain companies that they claim profit from human rights abuses and violations in international law in Israel/Palestine,” according to the school’s statement.

During deliberations, the Board said it reflected on Stanford’s diverse community of faculty, staff, students and alumni that are “highly engaged on all sides” of the conflict. The Board noted that, “a diversity of viewpoints and Stanford’s commitment to open, thoughtful and civil debate are critical to the educational mission of the university.”

Further explaining its decision, the university referenced its policy on investment responsibility, which says if a trustee action “is likely to impair the capacity of the university to carry out its education mission (for example, by causing significant adverse action on the part of governmental or other external agencies or groups, or by causing deep divisions within the university community), then the Trustees need not take such action.”

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