Students at Columbia University in New York on Tuesday voted in favor of the movement that calls to boycott Israel, during the educational facility's first ever referendum on the issue.
The move came after a long campaign by pro-Palestinian groups on campus to call a student referendum for the university to adopt The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement's policies.
The campus-wide vote saw about 61% of the respondents voting in favor of the institution to divest "its stocks, funds and financial endowment" from companies linked to Israel since the country's actions "fall under the United Nations International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid."
About 27% of the students voted against the motion and about 11% abstained, with the turnout in the referendum standing at just below 40%, the Jewish Insider reports.
The group behind the referendum - Columbia University Apartheid Divest - welcomed the outcome. A pro-Israel advocacy on campus, meanwhile warned that "Jewish students are three to eight times more likely to be victims of anti-Jewish hostility after BDS resolutions pass."
Responding to the referendum, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger said that the vote is unlikely to have any effect on the university's investments.
"At Columbia, questions about possible divestment of endowment funds are not decided by referendum but through a process involving the University’s Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing," he said.
"It is unfair and inaccurate to single out this specific dispute for this purpose when there are so many other, comparably deeply entrenched conflicts around the world," the statement added.
Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS