Princeton graduate students back Israel occupation divestment by wide margin

| Ali Abunimah pour The Electronic Intifada |

Graduate students at Princeton University have voted by a wide margin in favor of divestment from companies profiting from the Israeli occupation in Palestine.

The initiative won with 56 percent (417 votes) in favor, to 39 percent (292 votes) against.

In April, undergraduates narrowly defeated a divestment initiative by a margin of 52.5 percent against, to 47.5 percent in favor.

But combining the two results, 1,382 Princeton students have now voted for divestment, beating out the 1,359 who have voted against.

“Turnout in the graduate student poll was much higher than we had anticipated,” organizer Naima Hammoud, a mathematics graduate student, said in a press release from the Princeton Divests Coalition. “More than twice as many graduate students voted on the divestment question as voted in the graduate student government elections held earlier this year.”

She said this was an indicator of the level of political engagement generated by the debate over Palestine.

Princeton Divests said the “shift in public opinion” on campus “is a historic achievement.”

“Ultimately, we see this combined majority as a mandate from our fellow students to press forward with the divestment campaign,” said Kelly Roache, co-founder of the Princeton Divests Coalition and a graduate student in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

The coalition will present the results of the vote to the university’s resources committee next academic year and continue to campaign for divestment.

More than 80 tenured faculty are backing the divestment initiative, which has also garnered the support of Princeton emeritus professor Cornel West.

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