Home » Opinion » Letters to Editor » Letter to the Editor: The case for divestment and diversity through USG

Letter to the Editor: The case for divestment and diversity through USG

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Members of USG listen during a meeting on Dec. 12. Credit: Lantern File Photo

Members of USG listen during a meeting on Dec. 12. Credit: Lantern File Photo

On March 9, a large number of students came together to represent, discuss and vote on 48-R-43: A Resolution to Support the Withdrawal of OSU’s Investments in Corporations Complicit in Human Rights Violations in the Undergraduate Student Government’s General Assembly. This resolution was aimed at three corporations that are complicit and profit off Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Over 20 student organizations supported the resolution — all of which are extremely diverse and account for a sizeable portion of the student body.

“Divestment” has become a buzzword surrounded by a great deal of unrelated rhetoric, but the concept is simple. Divestment is the opposite of investment. To divest is to get rid of stocks, bonds or investment funds for social or economic reasons. Divestment is a powerful tool that has been used to bring about change. It was instrumental in ending South African Apartheid. Contrary to what seems like popular belief, the Ohio State University has divested before — both from South Africa and from Sudan. It is neither a new concept nor an irrational mission.

I went into the general assembly prepared for the worst, just like everyone else. However, I was still shocked and honestly disturbed by the hypocritical and contradicting statements made by senators. There was a constant and pervasive message echoed by many: “We represent our constituents.” This seemed to imply, “We represent our constituents but not YOU.” Maybe I am mistaken, but I am a constituent — nearly everyone in that room was a constituent. It also undermines the fact that 23 organizations endorsed this resolution, which represents a large number of students.

There was another common theme in this general assembly: USG needs to be diverse and represent diverse students. Yet, despite the fact that people of different ethnicities, sexual orientations, religions, etc., were present and supported the resolution, our voices were still not heard. We were all lumped together as minorities whose families migrated to the United States from some country. This is extremely inaccurate; we do not share the same experiences as one another just because we are first-generation students, and it is disrespectful to assume so.

The general assembly meeting lasted for nearly five hours. The resolution was ultimately tabled.

By the end of the meeting, I was quite honestly tired. I was exhausted, angry and hurt. I came to realize that the majority of the senators do not represent me or any of the organizations and students who endorsed the resolution. I realized that diversity is a tool used by many in power to appear well-rounded, intelligent and socially aware while meaning absolutely nothing. This invalidation was felt by many students, and therefore, until senators speak to recognize and represent minorities who come from different ethnicities, religions, cultures, sexual identities, gender identities and nationalities, USG should stop feigning interest in how diverse it needs to be, as well as how it needs to represent its constituents.

I am a constituent, and USG is not representing me.

 

Seema Sandhu

Third-year in psychology

7 comments

  1. “USG didn’t do what I wanted them to therefore they need to change”

  2. Tldr; “USG didn’t do what I wanted so they need to change to do what I want”

  3. Typical logic.

    As a part-time teacher at the Univ of California at Irvine (and a Gentile), I have seen and heard first-hand how the anti-Israel drive and BDS is motivated by anti-Semitism.

    Please read the below report by the AMCHA Initiative. This report is the result of a year-long study by an organization established by two UC professors to combat anti-Semitism on UC campuses.

    http://www.amchainitiative.org/first-hard-evidence-antizionism-fueling-antisemitism

    We are witnessing a world-wide resurgence in anti-Semitism. In the US, the focal point for this resurgence is on our college campuses.

  4. “In other news, _____ Chapter of Students for Justice in Tibet have insisted that the university cease doing business with any Chinese company.” – Imaginary news report that would never occur because the bigots who attack Israel don’t actually care about “occupation,” they want to destroy the Jewish State.

    • Vidar Thorsteinsson

      Dear Arafat, your bold suggestion for divestment from Chinese companies is inspiring! I encourage you to get together with other campus activists working on this issue, and propose a divestment resolution. You are free to model it on OSUDivest’s resolution, whose text purposefully gestures to the need for further extension of an ethical investment policy.
      As before, I wish you the best in your human rights activism.
      Yours,
      Vidar

      • Dearest Vidar, I think your grandpa’s country should kick what few Jews are left out and replace them with tens of thousands of Syrian refugees. Your country could be a Petri dish the entire world could learn not to emulate.

        Yours,
        Allahu Akbar

  5. So the university divests from an investment for political reasons.

    Tuition goes up. The university has to make up the loss of income.

    Is it any wonder only rich anti-Semitic students — whose parents can handle the increase in tuition — favor divestment?

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