Pro-BDS activists disrupt Michigan State board meeting

On June 28, pro-Palestine demonstrators interrupted a meeting of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees to demand that the school divest from Israel.

On June 28, anti-Israel demonstrators interrupted a meeting of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees to demand that the school divest from Israel.

The protest in Flint began when students from the Hurriya Coalition started chanting in favor of divestment, in addition to holding signs and banners.

“The Board of Trustees is out of line with their own policies,” yelled one student protester.

The Hurriya Coalition describes itself on its Instagram page as “A collective of 20+ organizations fighting for freedom & justice in Palestine at MSU.”

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“URGENT UPDATES,” the coalition announced on Instagram on June 29. “The Board of Trustees walked out on us when we spoke up after Trustee Pierce reaffirmed their current investments in Israel and weapons manufactures [sic].”

“After agreeing to allow public comment to continue so our community can speak, and making Trustee Pierce agree to meet with us before August, we are back in session,” the group continued. “We will win divestment‼”

The university administration has said that the board of trustees did not “walk out” on the pro-Palestinian protesters, but rather simply ended its meeting on time.

“We clearly want to allow people in the room to express themselves freely, but there’s a time limit by which we needed to get our work completed,” MSU President Kevin Guskiewicz reportedly said. “We decided, after talking with the group, that they were willing to allow us to proceed in a civil way, in a respectful way, so I was pleased that they did that.”

“The MSU Board of Trustees has indicated that the university will not be making any divestment changes,” communications manager Mark Bullion told Campus Reform. “Our investment decisions will continue to focus on strong financial stewardship that allow us to advance our educational and outreach mission.”

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This is not the first time that students at Michigan State have protested for the board of trustees to remove investments from companies associated with Israel.

Pro-Palestinian protesters similarly interrupted a meeting of the MSU board on Jan. 2, telling the trustees: “You must take student demands into serious consideration and act.”

“Your Arab and Muslim students cannot be continuously failed and rejected,” one protester said at the time.

“To divest from apartheid once means you must continue to divest from apartheid, especially in times like this,” said another activist. One demonstrator also accused the trustees of being “war criminals.”