BDS Referendum

The Columbia College Student Council has agreed to hold a referendum for the College student body in the spring on whether the University should divest from companies profiting from or otherwise supporting Israeli policy toward the Palestinian people. The referendum seeks the views of Columbia College students; the Student Council’s action does not express a view for or against the referendum question.

Questions about possible divestment of endowment funds are not decided by referendum but through a process involving the University’s Advisory Council on Socially Responsible Investing (ACSRI), which advises Columbia’s Trustees on ethical and social issues that arise in the management of the investments in the University's endowment.  ACSRI, which was established in 2000, includes students, faculty, staff, and alumni.  It is empowered to review and analyze proposals from members of the Columbia community; if ACSRI agrees to a proposal, it then presents that proposal to the President and University Board of Trustees. In the past five years, they have approved two proposals:  divestment from private prisons and from public companies whose primary business is the production of thermal coal. For a list of other proposals and decisions by ACSRI, please visit the recent issues section of the ACSRI homepage.