(JTA) — The president of the student government at Loyola University of vetoed an Israel divestment resolution.
Pedro Guerrero, president of the Loyola United Student Government Association, or USGA, on Tuesday vetoed the resolution that calls on the university to remove its holdings from eight companies that provide equipment or services to Israel for use in the West Bank.
The veto came a day after the USGA had passed the resolution by a vote of 12-10 with nine abstentions. Monday’s vote was a revote from a March 19 poll of 26-0 with 2 abstentions.
The student senate can override the veto with a two-thirds majority vote. If the approval remains in place, the resolution becomes the official position of the student body and is presented to the administration.
“No matter what viewpoint you hold on the larger issue, this resolution caused harm among the student community,” Guerrero said in a statement to USGA and the Loyola University Chicago community, the JUF News reported late Tuesday.
Guerrero said he made the decision because the “diversity of thought on campus was not taken into consideration.”
Elections for new student government president, vice-president and 28 student senator positions were being held on Tuesday and Wednesday at Loyola.
The resolution was proposed by the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine. Nine of the student senators who voted for the resolution are members of the organization,
The university in a statement issued last week said the resolution does not reflect its views.
“This is not the position of Loyola University Chicago and we will not adopt this proposal,” the university stated. “As a university, we welcome open dialogue and debate on differing points of view. Proposals like this one benefit from broader campus discussion.”
Pro-Israel students were assisted in their efforts to overturn the measure by the Metro Chicago Hillel and the Jewish United Fund’s Israel Education Center.
The two organizations issued a statement Tuesday praising Guerrero’s “courageous and considered decision” to veto the resolution.
“By affirming the need for USGA to give due consideration to ‘diversity of thought on campus,’ President Guerrero and other USGA Senators, as well as the administration of Loyola University Chicago, have reaffirmed the values-based and inclusive culture that have always made this Jesuit university a welcoming home for Jews and other minority students,” the statement said.
“Students of good faith and goodwill must address the difficult and complex issues of our times in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, rather than demonization and delegitimization,” it concluded. The statement was signed by Talia Sobol, Loyola Metro Chicago Hillel/JUF Israel intern, and Emily Briskman, director, JUF’s Israel Education Center.