ASUC President Connor Landgraf has announced that he will not veto SB 160, the controversial bill passed last week that divests ASUC funds from companies affiliated with the Israeli military and encourages the UC system to do the same.
In a statement released Tuesday night, Landgraf emphasized that his decision should not be taken as an endorsement of the bill.
“I firmly reject its onesided narrative, and the bill’s complete and utter failure to create any constructive discussion or dialogue on a complex and multifaceted issue,” he said in the statement. “This bill has served to do nothing more than divide our campus, foster anger, and encourage divisiveness.”
SB 160, authored by Student Action Senator George Kadifa, seeks the divestment of more than $14 million in ASUC and UC assets from companies including Caterpillar and Hewlett-Packard. The bill claims that these companies are complicit in Israel’s alleged abuse of human rights in Gaza, including the illegal demolition of Palestinian homes.
However, Landgraf said he decided not to veto the bill because he believed such an act would only lengthen the conflict and make the campus’s healing process more difficult. It is for this reason only, Landgraf said, that he decided not to veto SB 160.
Last week’s ASUC meeting lasted over 10 hours and was attended by more than 500 students, faculty and other concerned members of the community. Three senators cried as they explained their votes, which took place just before 5:30 a.m. Thursday morning.
Chancellor Robert Birgeneau released a statement last Thursday affirming his opposition to SB 160, saying that he believed that “targeting a single nation or state in this highly complex world is not appropriate and does little to advance the cause of peace and coexistence.”
In an interview with The Daily Californian, Landgraf characterized the week leading up to his announcement as one of the worst of his life.
“I want people to know that this was not me siding with either side, and this is not me siding with the bill,” he said. “I couldn’t disagree more with this bill and the way it was done. I think this bill has utterly failed in that it hasn’t resulted in any constructive dialogue and that it’s very clear that this is not a model for how to produce change.”
Read his full statement below: